The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

The Symphony: Part II

A little girl of about eight years old is a few seats to my left, but she isn’t seated. She stands through the whole first movement, wearing a red velvet dress with long sleeves and a white collar. I can feel the little girl watching me as I watch the performance–so I aim to appear very intent. Many others have settled in to listen, slumped down with heads back, eyes closed. When the music gets suddenly loud, you see a wave of jolts from people who have fallen asleep–a leg kicks out, a head snaps upright. I feel her eyes looking to the stage, then over at me, so I keep smiling, keep trying to demonstrate that I am enjoying the music.

During intermission, I take out my notebook to write and the little girl tries to read what I’m scrawling, despite the distance and language barrier. I look up and we smile at each other. I notice we’re wearing the same flat shoes–mine are blue and hers are red. So I cross one leg and shake my foot. She watches my ankle, then lights up and gazes down to her own feet. We raise our eyebrows conspiratorially. We could certainly exit the concert hall far more swiftly than the ladies wearing high heels.

As the music resumes, it’s clear the girl must be familiar with the selection. She’s trying hard to keep herself from conducting, sometimes she can’t restrain her joy and must reach out, must set the tempo, must release a section with her hand. Her father tries not to inhibit her, but whispers at her from time to time. She’s giddy, so I wish to be giddy. She lets out a loud sigh, then covers her mouth, then turns her eyes toward me, and I return her glance with a nod of respect. It’s become a totally different experience than I had expected, and a joy to listen to the music under her influence.

–Krakow, Poland.


13 comments on “The Symphony: Part II

  1. Jeff Walker
    October 15, 2014

    I loved this Paige, the interplay between you and the little girl. The fact that a language difference need not be a barrier, and the joy of a “conspiritorial” raised eyebrow or smile. And music. The shared joy of music.

    Your last paragraph brought to mind something I’d written in July 2012. I hope you don’t mind me sharing it here. Peace.

    • Jeff Walker
      October 15, 2014

      Conspiratorial. Ugh.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 16, 2014

      Hi Jeff,
      Thanks for sharing your story. We hadn’t known each other back in 2012 so it was new to me. 🙂 Thanks!
      I really think I enjoyed it more because of her grins and her reactions. It has also inspired me to learn more about symphonies in general, so that’s “to the good” as my Grandma would say.

  2. joannerambling
    October 15, 2014

    This was great

  3. M-R
    October 16, 2014

    I think your ability to allow strangers into your space is what makes you such a good recounter of them, Paige ! 🙂

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 16, 2014

      Perhaps. I hope so. I am trying to be better about letting people in, rather than just watching them from afar. 🙂

      • M-R
        October 16, 2014

        It’s working with this one ! 😀

  4. jrsumnersw
    October 16, 2014

    Children are great like that. I’m glad you encouraged her. I try to do the same with my son, but like the father in your story here,I sometimes feel compelled calm him down. Great story

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      October 17, 2014

      It’s probably a concern for the people in the row before us, where she was leaning right over them, and the people behind who had to watch through her hands. 🙂 I understood the father, as that’s an important part of learning we’re not the center of the world. Yet, it was such a lovely and instinctual reaction for her. Hopefully one day, she’ll be up there as conductor! I can say I knew her when.

  5. Gallivanta
    October 20, 2014

    How delightful.

  6. B*
    October 31, 2014

    Beautifully written♥
    Thank you for sharing your light and do take care, too 🙂

  7. ChristineR
    December 8, 2014

    A precious memory.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: