Waiting for the muse….

I waited for you all day. I searched amidst the strings of lights hanging from the ceiling of this large atrium, that keeps the world outside, and I searched through the faux streams, bridges, waterfalls, koi ponds and equatorial and tropical simulations, but you were nowhere to be found. Even as I stared wide-eyed at this fantastic creation, a part of me absorbing the placid alligator slithering underneath the tiny wooden bridge on which we stood, while Christmas music streamed in from somewhere and while red poinsettias charmed our senses, I kept thinking about Tolstoy’s description of an opera:

“The floor of the stage consisted of smooth boards, at the sides was some painted cardboard representing trees, and at the back was a cloth stretched over boards. In the center of the stage sat some girls in red bodices and white skirts. One very fat girl in a white silk dress sat apart on a low bench, to the back of which a piece of green cardboard was glued. They all sang something. When they had finished their song the girl in white went up to the prompter’s box and a man with tight silk trousers over his stout legs, and holding a plume and a dagger, went up to her and began singing, waving his arms about.

First the man in the tight trousers sang alone, then she sang, then they both paused while the orchestra played and the man fingered the hand of the girl in white, obviously awaiting the beat to start singing with her. They sang together and everyone in the theater began clapping and shouting, while the man and woman on the stage- who represented lovers- began smiling, spreading out their arms, and bowing.

After her life in the country, and in her present serious mood, all this seemed grotesque and amazing to Natasha. She could not follow the opera nor even listen to the music; she saw only the painted cardboard and the queerly dressed men and women who moved, spoke, and sang so strangely in that brilliant light. She knew what it was all meant to represent, but it was so pretentiously false and unnatural that she first felt ashamed for the actors and then amused at them. She looked at the faces of the audience, seeking in them the same sense of ridicule and perplexity she herself experienced, but they all seemed attentive to what was happening on the stage, and expressed delight which to Natasha seemed feigned.”

Perhaps you elude me because my thoughts involuntarily move toward an underscoring of my jaded viewpoint. You might seek an innocence, a freshness or someone who still thrills to the sight of rainbows, hearts and flowers and still sees shapes in clouds. Those are the things that in some ways add meaning to the cardboard cut-outs and fat girls in white silk dresses and people waiting to jump in at the beat. I know that’s what you seek I have glimpsed your presence in a face that takes my breath away. You laugh there and you sing and you transform yourself into a radiance that blinds me and binds me in a hypnotic trance.

Entranced, yet sentient, I claw at the looming abyss and I fill my days with attempts at newness. I seek answers to questions I never had before and I lose myself in unclear answers and circular references that keep me standing, flailing at the same place. And through it all people come and go, smile a few smiles, that never reach the eyes where I’ve tried to search for your elusive presence; falsely believing that the promise of a connection would provide the enrichment and fecundity you seek for your prosperity.

But it is getting late here and I must end the search today, convinced of the sterility of this space where every surface has been wiped clean of all that brings you pleasure. I’ll think about letting folks in here without scrubs and with shoes and we’ll try again tomorrow-for hope lives on even as all else dies.

1 Comment

  1. Looks like you are in pretty much the same predicament as I am!The Tolstoy extract was very apt.

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