While I’m in Montreal singing with the Montreal Chamber Orchestra, I’ll be reposting some classic Scintillations for your amusement. Enjoy!
*Warning: Prose poem follows*
She told me about the breakup, then left the table. I looked out the window.
A woman was getting into a minivan, a tubby woman, middle-aged, ordinary, arms full of plastic-sheathed drycleaning. Her stolid greying husband glared at her from the driver’s seat; she got in, buckled up, and they drove away. They looked grim and ordinary. I watched the taillights disappear and tried to imagine them young and brimming over with love. He brought her flowers. She sang for him. They went to the beach, for long walks in the park. Then the wedding, the beautiful shining stressful evening, when they promised to love each other forever, and danced and ate and drank and laughed, and all their families and friends laughed with them and threw joyous handfuls of rice in their hair.
And then the mortgage and the babies and the dreary everydayness of life. And then they woke up this morning and their lives were half over and they hated each other; but there was still the van to pay off, still the dry cleaning to pick up, still the same round of ordinary things to see to.
Or maybe it was never like that, I thought, as the lights faded. Maybe they were blissfully happy but had unusually severe faces. Maybe what looked to me like hatred and boredom was really just their ground state. Or maybe, to them, this was life, this was all they ever wanted, this was a dream come true.
I looked away. She was coming up the stairs, in between things, waiting for the new life she’d promised herself. I smiled and under my breath I made an everlasting vow.