Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Violet Hour - Chapter One

Violet Destiny

           When I awaken this summer morning in Venice, I have no premonition that I will be fighting for my life before tomorrow’s dawn; or that my mentor and would- be lover, plans to kill me.   Memories of the last eight pain- filled years, like a pale puckered scar, remind me that I have been able to heal, through music and love.   Music has always saved me, I think.   
           Several hours later, before the violet dawn flushes a new day, I walk into the American Opera Center theater theatre, in New York, to meet my lover, but really, the stage has been set for my death.
            I rush into the  theatretheater, only thinking about his arms and his kiss.   I halt briefly, noting that hundreds of candles have been lit and the stage set for Violetta’s death scene in La Traviata.
            I call to my lover, and my voice echoes in the acoustical theater then fades into silence.   I have one thought, and that is to run, but despite my instincts, I still hope that my beloved waits for me there, and my legs move slowly towards the exit.   Then his arms encircle my waist and his breath, heavy with the rich scent of the fine vintage 1787 Bordeaux that we shared in better times, you could say, tickles my ear. Immediately I realize that something has gone desperately wrong.
            “Ah, but you were expecting the other one. Sorry to disappoint, my dear. But you will see that I am the better choice. I offer the better life.”
            “You just startled me,” I choke as my throat closes with fear. “Come, are you chastising me for missing a rehearsal? Did I forget something?” I chide him lightly, even though the words stick in my throat and my mouth is dry.
            “Nothing has been forgotten. This is the most important night of your life. Tonight, you will truly be immortal. I offer you this, and fame. What girl has had such an offer?”
            He turns me so that I gaze into his familiar face. I recognize the dark stubble that ripples along his angular jaw and a wave of dark chocolate hair that falls into his cobalt eyes, which are now steely.
            “I’ve been traveling all day,” I say. “It’s wonderful to see you, really. Can’t we continue this tomorrow?”
            “Tomorrow is a day for beginnings, but tonight is for endings. Say goodbye to the mediocrity that shadows every step that humans take. Au revoir to servitude, and fear and folly. Tonight, you will become the queen of your life, and mine. Together we will rule the operatic stages of the world. Just a brief time of pain, and an eternity of song and power will follow.” He touches his cold lips to mine, and I feel ice bubbles run throughout my body.
             “Come, my dear. Have a drink with me. There is no need to hurry. I have wanted to taste you since I first smelled your blood. It is quite magnificent, you know, like your voice.”
            He leads me to the stage and I sink onto Violetta’s deathbed, praying that it will not be mine.
            “I offer a toast, to our new union,” he says. “We will reign forever, Tseylulu.”[
            I flinch at his pet name for me, which translates as ‘I kiss you.’ He often shouted that during our rehearsals over the past year, but now his vocal caress pounds in my ears, like a Lady Gaga recording that is poorly synced. I am determined to hold onto another melody, one that was written for me.
           “I sought him whom my soul loveth: I held him and I would not let him go.” The phrase from the Bible’s Song of Solomon races through my mind. So, I am to be this monster’s immortal bride or destroy the other man who has become my soul. This totally bites, I think, and then choke back hysterical laughter.
           I don’t answer, and my silence enrages him. I feel a rush of wind flying past me, but it is I who fly across the stage when the demon hurls me. My body feels mangled, and the harsh stage floor thuds against my head before I lose consciousness. The last thing I hear is my beloved’s music. It comes to me as through a mist. I hold onto that. I will take that to my death. I think of the aria that my love wrote for me, “Questo Il Mio Momento Finale”—the aria that I was cast to sing in the New York premier of his opera, on this same stage—while another stabbing pain rocks my body. And so I will not die alone, or in vain. My love and his music will survive. And the world will be a better place for that…

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