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NPR had just aired an instrumental music selection, entitled, “Unfortunate Is He Who Hath a Wife”. Unfortunately, she didn’t catch the composer’s name, though the piece was quite short.
For the past seven, much longer months, she’d let something play out on her own, inner radio. In fact, she’d pinned her hopes and dreams on one, grande tune.
Well, okay. One somebody.
Or, rather, pinned her beliefs. Her expectations. Thoughts. Affections. Her fantasies….her…future?
Would that a bassoon and oboe would have something to offer, right about now. All the BBC shows featured them, and with remarkable effect. Everything progressed so nicely, immediately following those double reed interludes. All the plot development. The suspense. The dramatic climax. Even the resolution, so often banal, closed with that maddening woodwind cadence. You know. Over in the UK, where everything was neat, sweet, small and, seemingly, complete.
Yes. She could really use one of those banal BBC bassoons, right now.
Alas; NPR had already moved on to something that sounded like Haydn. Even the music couldn’t help her now. Back to that God forsaken pin board.
Now, whom did she believe, exactly?
Somebody other than herself, apparently.
Instead of turning her energies inward, toward the ineffable blessings bestowed upon her at birth, she chose to funnel herself through a very narrow opening that led to: somebody else. In fact, she’d poured herself into that somebody – figuratively, symbolically, emotionally – until there was nothing left of her, apart from the one in the picture. She called what she’d done “Us”, and already had Us traveling to Scotland, maybe Norway, even making music together, becoming that fabled, “two are better than one” coupling that she’d been taught would come along right as she had given up all hope.
Hope. Hope for what, exactly? Something that she could not find anyplace else?
Perhaps it was the notion that, two, when they made three, would make everything better, which had thrown her for the better part of the last forty four years. She wouldn’t get to find out, however, unless one counted the morning in December of ’85 when, upon awakening, doubled over in pain, crawling to the bathroom to vomit and then, to call her mother who, upon arriving, asked only if there were any chance she could be pregnant. She supposed it might have been several years hence before she realized that, even thought the test had come back negative, since she’d begun flowing within minutes of the blood draw there actually could have been a conception.
Perhaps it was the moment she’d relived a thousand times, thereafter. The child she almost had. The father unmistakable, a veritable unknown who, since he’d known her Biblically, had gone on to become the most celebrated home builder in the entire county. The biggest houses, in the most spacious developments, all his creation, where all the most affluent, stable families settled to grow old together.
Two didn’t make anything close to three, in her case. In fact, there weren’t two, back then. There was just one, and one. One, her; the other, without her. They’d diverged, never to see each other again, for decades.
But, did I just digress?
I believe so. Or, was it just your expectation?
Fodor. That’s what NPR just played. Somebody that just sounded like Haydn. Finally, air time, in the dead of night, when all the anonymous were listening.
Yes. She’d really believed that somebody other than herself would come to her, lift her out of her stupor, and offer that endless vista of expansive opportunity. It would be called love, and would make everything that hadn’t yet a reality, and anything that didn’t, well, better, anyway.
That’s not what happened.
Instead, at the eleventh hour, all the beliefs, expectations, hopes, dreams, and fantasies disappeared into the obscuring ether of a double standard called “choice”. One had it; the other didn’t. All that remained, when the sandstorm cleared, was: herself, alone.
And, so, she’d faced herself. And, becoming intimate with the totality of her purpose, she discovered that nobody else could have done that for her, anyway. You know. The choosing part.
And, so it had become time to choose to remove the pins.
Each one had left a tiny wound. Multiple pores, where feeling had been. Each microscopic tunnel, leading into her and through the other side where the attachment to the somebody had allegedly formed. Each a hidden vacuum, sucked shut as quickly as its pin was released, and with each disappearance taking the attachment itself.
There was no pinboard. There was just a story, told into her itching ears, taking up temporary residence in her head.
And, now was the time for all good listeners to turn off the radio.
Living, instead, had already begun.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo
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