Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
At the symphony, the tall woman loses focus during Strauss. When she returns from intermission, she seems determined to try again. A row of men who resemble retired diplomats watch her leave for the break, remaining in their seats to admiringly observe her return.
She comes back before the lights dim. A soloist brings sheet music onstage with him, apparently a nearly unheard of act of amateurism. She watches his hands as he prepares to play. People around the woman click and tsk quietly toward their neighbor, and listen for the soloist’s frequent errors with traded glances and patience.
Her companions try to get the distracted woman’s attention, set her straight, point out that there is no reason to gaze around so wistfully. Her first trip to the symphony and what a disaster. Yet, she doesn’t hear the mistakes. She’s lost in studying the curtains, the soloist’s shoes, the way the people in the crowd lean in or away from each other. She fails to notice the former diplomats still tracking the rise and fall of her shoulders.
Despite the pain of the performances, the crowd remains kind. Ovations and endless applause conclude the evening. Each audience member seems to take a cue from another, listening to the enthusiasm, trying to conquer it, clapping with growing levels of tempo and volume. They cheer on and on like people who had nowhere else to go. So there are three bows and three curtain calls, per composer, per director, per very surprised and very humbled soloist.
–Prague, Czech Republic.