I stopped speaking for six months when my grandfather, Grappa, a well known biotech entrepreneur, heard me humming one evening and then subsequent evenings. That had become my only pattern of communication after my parents' death. He tried to join my shadow world and held me late into the unfolding nights, humming songs that were popular during the 1940's. I remained frozen in my midnight melodies, unable to reach out in any meaningful way. Then he had a flash of insight and took me to a famous voice teacher. Renee bought me back to life and realized that I had a world class talent simply through my breath work, humming and physiognomy. My greatest tragedy would bring me my greatest triumphs, a love that felt like it transpired time, and my most brilliant heartache.
"You don't want me to audition for your opera?" I asked Luca, avoiding the deeper purple tones that belied his impatience and concern.
"This role should go to someone who is already well known. You will have time to prepare for the European premiere and you and I can work together then." He answered with a level tone.
"You mean it will keep me away from Phisto." I answered with more edge than I'd intended.
"His influence on your music has been, in my opinion, destructive." He reached for my hand but stopped and bent his head. Violet eyes were hidden by the shadows that the candle cast across the table.
"He believes in me." I retorted.
"As do I." He managed and I knew that his temper had ignited.
"Why do you want to delay my success? A premiere in Europe is nice, but it's not New York, now is it?"
"It is better this way. What does he encourage but big sound and dramatic phrasing? Tools for the career not for the artistic development. I want you to sing for your soul, not for the paycheck."
"Then you'll be paying my bills." I said unkindly. I watched his mouth move as he responded and remembered how it had felt just hours before. Why did Phisto's existence create such problems for us? It was as though Luca hated him.
"I'll support you in any way. I hope that you know that."
"Grappa has said that he will support me for only a few more months. I need to start my career now, not in six months. I'll be waiting table by then."
"Let me help you." His dark beard created a sculpted shadow across his face, highlighting high cheekbones and a sensual mouth
"Allow me to help myself by giving me the New York debut."
"It's not possible. I'm sorry," he said, and stood abruptly, overturning his chair as he reached for me. His lips were on mine and I felt him once again take me to a familiar land where only saftey and desire existed, danced like well loved partners, came together, released and then joined again with seamless efforts. I felt as though we burned castles in the air and that the tidal waves responded to our rhythm.
I had to understand why he opposed my starring in the New York debut. I didn't realize that my life depended on it