Actually, I‘m not really sure if it was supposed to be a conclusion or just a continuation. So I have left it a bit open ended. There are, to be sure, a couple of logical inconsistencies within the combined work…. I hope that doesn’t matter too much
Rudolph. Rudolph the rude she secretly named him two years ago. She first met Rudolph during intermission in the lobby of this same opera house. He came on strong and the champagne cocktail encouraged her to flirt probably a little too much. She was instantly enamored by his boyish charm and definite interest. They joined each other after the performance and went to a cafe for a late dinner and live music.
Possibly it was all of it at once, or the way he held her close as they danced that made her fall so quickly. They spent the next two weeks barely able to leave each other for a few minutes, but then her vacation ended and she was immersed in her job once again.
Lana put her whole self into any endeavor, but as she sat reading manuscripts, her mind wandered to the vision of Rudolph. Lana was wondering if she would ever see him again. They promised of course, as passionate lovers always do, but she had been home for a week with no word. Her attempts to contact him came back unanswered.
So this was awkward.
She could not help but stare at him, of course. But nor could anyone else. He took centre stage and was, in more ways than one, magnificent. She felt more than a pang of guilt when Joshua tapped her gently on the shoulder and whispered in her ear, “this guy is great.”
“Oh, yes,” she whispered back, but more to herself than to Joshua.
But it was utter foolishness. She was a happily married woman. Well … fairly happily, anyway. And if her marriage was lacking that certain spark of romance then that was the nature of marriage. Perhaps it was the nature of romance. For romance would always be transient.
And tonight, at least, Joshua was really trying. In the car lay a bunch of flowers and the book that she had long lusted for. She could still feel the lightheadedness of the wine they had shared at dinner. He was, after all, her childhood sweetheart. What could be more romantic?
So she resolved, then and there, to put it behind her, to lock forever that window into the past. And look to a future that had been mapped out for her. Mapped out for Joshua, anyway. In the family furniture business. What future was there for the tenor? What would become of him when his good looks and his sweet voice deserted him?
But still she was transfixed. And not once, not twice, but three times she thought he made eye contact with her. Which was impossible. The stage lights were directed towards him and, looking out into the audience, he must have seen only a sea of grey faces in the shadows. Perhaps every woman in the audience imagined such eye contact. How many of them, she wondered, had slept with him?
She had little memory of the performance itself. She remembered to applaud only when Joshua nudged her.
And then, as they stood to leave, an attendant pressed a note into her hand. It was a back stage pass for the following evening’s performance. She recognised the handwriting. ‘Bring a toothbrush’ the note said.
Lana knew immediately what she would do.