As The Invisible Piano Plays

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I walked aimlessly down the halls of the hotel, taking in every minute detail. Like all post-Civil War buildings, detailed moldings and applied ornaments adorned the walls while delicate chandeliers hung above, throwing off a warm glow. Unseen, a piano played a soft melody. “I feel like I should be wearing a ball gowns,” I thought to myself as I imagined this place in another time.
It was almost magical how well all the little details fit together to create a beautiful atmosphere. I almost expected that around one of the corners I would happen upon the ghostly patrons of a past, more romantic era. I imagined they would be dancing, mingling and flirting. The women would be wearing frivolous dresses that swished with their every movement while their male counterparts would escort them around in handsome suits. All the while the invisible piano and its pianist would play on.
Suddenly, I turned the last corner and that was when the real magic happened. I was at the foyer of a huge ball room with a magnificent chandelier overhead, spanning a ten-foot diameter. But that was not what drew me into the room. Underneath the chandelier, danced about a hundred people in beautiful ball gowns and suits: it was like a scene from my fantasy merely seconds before.
“I wish I was dressed for this occasion,” I thought. It felt like everyone’s eyes should be on me since I most probably stood out like a sore thumb. But when I looked down, I saw that this was not so. My t-shirt and jean had been replaced by the most beautiful dress. It was a dark pink color, yet it reminded me of Belle’s dress from Beauty and the Beast with its corseted waist and billowing, layered skirt. If only I had a dashing young man in a suit to escort me to the dance floor, I thought as I watched the beautiful people dancing below
For several minutes, I stood there. All the while, a feeling of distance and awkwardness grew in me as I was merely an observer for the frivol of others. I wanted to cry—and maybe I did, but had no conscious awareness of it. Here I was, dressed in a beautiful ball gown, looking absolutely stunning and yet absolutely miserable. Eventually, I couldn’t stand it anymore. Forget this magical place and this beautiful dress: I just wanted to go back to reality and…and what? It wasn’t like I could forget this place. No, this place and this night would forever be engrained into my memory….Still, I really wanted to leave.
Just as I turned to leave, I heard someone calling me.
Slowly, I turned back around, only to come face-to-face with a dashing young man. “How could I have missed seeing you?” I thought. As I looked upon his kind face, outlined by his dark hair, I felt my heart flutter softly in my chest.
“I noticed you standing here,” he said, as his brown eyes shyly met my blue ones. “And I want to know if I could accompany you to the dance floor.”
For a moment, I couldn’t believe my ears. Surely, this beautiful angel hadn’t asked me, the poor pauper in a magical dress, to dance? Yet, he must have. I felt my face grow hot as it flushed with a bright red blush. Then I recovered myself.
Smiling mischievously, I asked, “Would that include dancing down there?”
“Why, of course.”
“Well,” I said as I laid my hand in his outreached one. “I accept your invitation.”
So we danced. If the room was magic, then the dance was a pure enchantment. I felt like I was floating on air or swimming in the lightest water. At moments, it seemed he and I were the only ones alive while at other times; it seemed we were in the thickest of the crowd. Time was nonexistent yet when the dance was over; it could not have gone any faster. Slowly, hesitantly, we drop our arms from each other.
For a long moment, we just listened to that same invisible piano. Its pianist switched to another song a long time ago, but for us it was just the beginning.
“You know,” my partner said to me. “I think I finally figured out what this place is.”
Not certain where this conversation was going, I asked, “What is it?”
“It’s a secret place that transcends time and space, created by two intertwined souls,” He paused to look at me. “You and I are those two souls.”
Scared by the meaning behind his words, I stepped away from him. “What do you mean?”
“This dream-state allows me to see the world in different way and therefore get through all the ‘static’ that interferes with our perspective in reality.”
I stopped, “Wait, you mean this is all a dream? You are just a figment of my subconscious?”
“Yes. No. I mean this a dream but I am real.”
“I don’t understand.”
“This dream was created by both of us.”
Suddenly, a clock struck, proclaiming the time. Strangely, it sounded like the beeping of an alarm clock that was very far away.
“Look, I can’t explain it to you,” he said as he pull me close. “But you’ve got to trust me on this—I am as real as you are.”
As I watched, he grew more and more transparent, fading away from me. At the last moment—before he completely disappeared—, he said something, something that sounded like “Remember me!” but then he was gone.
Shortly after that, I too woke up. As left my bed, I felt that soft disappointment that always comes when a dream ends too soon, but I also felt a great exhilaration. Was it really all just a dream? Or, would I invariably meet my dance partner some day? There was only one way to find out—I had to face the new day and see what it would bring me. If he was real, then he—like me—would search this world until we met. Somehow, the thought of searching for somebody who may not even exist, didn’t depress me, didn’t make me sad, but excited me and make me look forward for this crazy adventure. And along the way, like in the halls of my dream hotel, an invisible pianist would play an invisible piano as I stumble along.





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