(Sound and) Vision
A vision of loveliness…the lady harpist incongruous in lurex and black lycra, feather earrings and jackboots. Blue-white flattop hair and skin that is silver in the follow spot. She could be a ballet boy from a Matthew Bourne, or a mythical bird. Her arms dance around the strings, like a sea anemone in slowmotion. Fragile silver rings on huge fingers. Those hands are so beautiful they can’t be big enough. They could reach out to fill the auditorium and pull notes from the rigging cables and handrails. They might, so gently, stroke the hair of the patient ushers, and raise from each strand an echoing harmonic in the hush of the soft darkness ; or pluck tiny chords from the straps of the icecream seller’s tray. Out in the foyer, bar staff would watch mesmerised as her arms burst from out of the hall flowing elegantly by them and out again through the window, onto the quayside, to ripple across the tuneful cables of the footbridge. Henpartyers and Offcomers, Dogwalkers and Theatre-goers all stop, amazed by so much beauty, hardly knowing that they have begun to dance. And one by one they fall silent, waiting open-mouthed in a dream of anticipation. And still in our seats, we are on the banks with them – we are by the Orinoco, the Severn, the Tyne holding our breath together until finally, her hands will reach and play the river itself – one immense, vibrating, yearning note, too low to hear but only feel.
Once, I would have decided then and there to take up playing the harp.
Once, I would have asked her for her phone number.
But tonight, I can only stare, wide-eyed and grateful for the dark. Tonight I can only vibrate with the river.