The Bubble

by Suzan Abrams

She seduced the keys of the baby grand like a woman possessed. Her back arched upwards in the direction of the ceiling; her face lay writhed in agony but powerful in its passions. As she raced with Rodney Bennet’s composition Excursions, I saw myself swinging down memory lane for the good times and with the awe of a sudden gasp, wept.

She dressed like a cabaret performer would; bearing the voluptuous layers of showy flesh on her tiny body with the tranquil air of the oddly cultured.

Her pearly complexion was alluring as she faithfully swanned in week after week, to hold a cello, balance an ambitious violin or blow the trumpet with gusto.

Destined to watch, I would arm myself with a trained mystifying air.

Today, I am late.

I am cautioned at the doors with a shush finger-to-lip sign and warned to tiptoe in with absolute silence. The pianist has just begun her second movement and I am advised to let “her fingers settle.”

Concentration becomes the mistress for the moment. I promise to add on dignified grace. The entire audience is held together in quiet rapture. Today, I have been excluded held outside the circumference of this elite bubble where backs are arched forwards; caught in stationery positions like a scene straight out of Sleeping Beauty.

Could music command even the silence to stop breathing?

I become a reluctant observer, protectively shadowing the performer and her audience. I am the hesitant butterfly that is sad at not being able to spread its wings. I am the fly on the wall; producing a predictable scene. I am the audience watching two performances all at once.

Two ladies quickly get up to go. The daughter slips out with clumsy courage and her blonde mother follows, smilling apologetically. In the eyes of a discreet but slightly stern and disapproving audience, the pair commit a grave sin.

I snatch the opportunity, I move forward now, some familiar faces greet me with a welcoming smile. I enter the bubble, taking my place as the substitute audience with relief. I slide into one of the abandoned warm seats and this with the grace of an understanding spectator, held spellbound by composition and composure.

I can now join the mute breathtaking scene with gusto. That providing I don’t for a moment, brave a sneeze.