The Opera

March 27, 2012
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I was sitting beside my wife in the opera house. She’s bought two tickets, and though she usually took one of her lady friends, she’d asked me to accompany her as her date tonight. I didn’t know why she’d asked me because I’d never shown any interest in to the opera before, but I decided it would have been rude to say no. I’d been sitting in this red cushioned chair for about 40 minutes, though to me it felt much longer. I didn’t understand the language that the woman in the ridiculous costume on was singing in, but I didn’t really care either. What was the point to this? I hadn’t been paying attention to the show; I would instead admire the architecture of the building, or observe the people around me and twiddle my thumbs in my lap. I became antsy and grabbed my wife’s hand to distract me as the funny looking people with too much makeup on made their way around the stage with their loud voices. I leaned over and told my wife I needed the bathroom. She eased my worries, telling me that the intermission was in two minutes. One hundred and twenty seconds later, we got up to walk around the lobby, and I made my way to the men’s room.
When I returned, I found my wife talking with a couple who had been sitting next to us, and though I had never met them before, my wife must have known them from shows in the past. I joined them and shook their hands. The man asked me what my opinion on the show. I answered by simply saying ‘oh fine.’ My wife, knowing this wasn’t the ideal event for me, took the reins and started a new conversation with the woman. She said she was familiar with this opera and she loved the story. She said that she would need to keep a spare handkerchief for the next act because she knew the ending would bring her to tears. There was a story? I didn’t catch that-I just thought it was song after song begin performed with no initial purpose.
A bell rang which meant the intermission was over and it was time to return to our seats. As my wife and I made our way back in, I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out my hanky and gave it to my wife with a smile. We sat in out red chairs again and the lights dimmed. I was now curious as to what the story line was. Immediately, a man and a woman, who were clearly in love, sang a song in Latin, or French or something. And after this long and emotional duet, the man exited with a different woman, leaving the first alone and distraught. She sang. Her voice was strong and sad. I had no idea why she seemed so distressed, but the way she sang hurt me. I stared at her in awe as I finally came to understand the beauty of the opera. She had such emotion, it drew me in. I couldn’t tell what she said, how long she sang for, or when I started to cry. I hadn’t noticed the tears until my wife nudged my hand, giving me back my handkerchief. I wiped my eyes and the song ended. The opera house broke into applause and I was the first to stand from my seat and lead the standing ovation as the woman bowed and ran from the stage, out of sight.

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