Dressed in the long black dress he had bought her. Her make up, perfect. A sight to behold. She sat in the wooden built orchestra pit, in the semi darkness. Built of light coloured plywood, to produce the best acoustic sounds. Tuning up her instrument like the other musicians around her. She plucked at the strings in a brutal, rough manner. One did not have to be a psychiatrist, a therapist to see her anger. Her frustration.
The audience began to take their seats in the large concert hall, under the bright lights, chatting among themselves. Among the favoured, special guests. The executives, and producers from the record companies, took their seats high up in the ‘Gods’, as befitting their position. She looked around the orchestra pit at her fellow musicians. The men dressed in their black tuxedos. Women dressed in all the finery. Some relaxed and laughed as they chatted. Others staring silently, and intently into space. Their eyes focused and unblinking. Their features, serious. Concentrating deeply on the forthcoming concert, and their part in the proceedings.
Well aware of the importance of the performance. Of the introduction of the new composition. So many wished him well, and all the success in the world. He was well liked by the members of the orchestra. With his easy going manner, and a quick smile. With a tendency to look on the brighter side of life. The audience and orchestra members awaited his entrance.
She did not even try to hide her anger and distress. Her glaring, reddened eyes. Her glowering, contorted features. Enough to discourage the other musicians from catching her gaze. He entered the auditorium and near enough sprinted to the podium. Such was his nervous energy, and adrenaline. His small wiry frame, topped by a mop of brown curly hair. Light perspiration forming on his forehead. His heart beating fast, and his legs shaking slightly. As ever his face brightened by that glittering smile. The audience applauded. The orchestra members smiled and tapped their instruments, in an acknowledgement of, and admiration for his prowess as an orchestra leader, a conductor. He stepped to the conductor’s podium, turned to face the audience, smiled and bowed. The audience applauded and cheered. Everyone knew the importance of this evening’s performance. Then he turned to face the orchestra members, and in a sweeping hand gesture acknowledged their enormous talent as musicians.
She watched him intently from behind her cello. Hoping to see some sign of guilt. Some admission of wrong doing. But nothing. He resolutely refused to catch her eye. No sign of remorse, nor sorrow. Just that wide, bright smile. After all those times they had spent together in each other’s arms. The promises he made. The plans they had made together for the future. If only the others knew what he was truly like. Did he really think he could use her, and then just drop her like that ?
She had to replay the conversation one more time, while it was still so fresh in her mind.
‘To be blunt Emily, I’ve had enough, and just fancy a change. I wish to move on ‘, said in such a calm, matter of fact manner.
‘What am I, a damn product, that you can pick up when you fancy, and drop when it suits you ? ‘ she screamed at him.
‘No, it’s not like that’, he lied. ‘It’s just time for a change’. Hoping she’d remain reasonably calm, and not create a scene. ‘We’ve had our fun, our good times, and now it’s over. Why can’t you take this like the mature woman I know you are, and just accept it ? ‘
Did she mean so little to him ? Did their relationship, mean so little to him ? She who had opened her heart to him. She who had shared her vulnerabilities with. She who had allowed him into her life, her soul. She who had fallen so in love with him.
‘I have this performance this evening,’ he continued, ‘ and you know how it important it is. How much depends on it. Can’t we just part as friends, and leave it at that ‘. With that he walked away from her dressing room, and out of her life.
She sat slumped in her dressing room chair, facing the large mirror. Physically unable to move. Her heart, physically feeling heavy. Her body weak. Feeling like she had being kicked hard in the chest, by the hind legs of a strong, wild, bucking horse. She sat like this alone for quiet some time. Wanting to shed some tears, but unable to do so. Wanting to scream, but embarrassed to do so. Wanting to smash the mirror that reflected back to her, the misery and unhappiness that now plagued her soul. But she could not summon the strength, to do so. Slowly , but surely, after quiet some time, she could feel her anger,and indignation rising within her. She was worth more than this. Deserved better than this. Her breathing becoming rapid. Her jaw beginning to jut, just that little bit. Her arms becoming tense. Her hands forming into tightly held fists. The butterflies stirring in her stomach. She imagined his body burning, engulfed by the red, yellow and blue raging flames. She could clearly see the fear, and terror in his eyes, and so enjoyed listening to his screams of agony, and his pleading for help. Which she joyfully ignored, before his body succumbed to the intense heat.
Feeling slightly better, and mentally stronger after her brief, violent daydream. She searched within her overcrowded handbag, until she found the small plastic package. Revenge was going to taste so sweet, she assured herself. She knew he always had that large class of cold milk, just before any performance, to calm his nerves, and encourage his confidence. A strange, bizarre ritual. But he was after all, a strange,……. She did not need to even finish the sentence. She left her dressing room, after drying her tears, and reapplying her make up. Upon entering the green room, where the artists relaxed, before appearing on stage. She saw him in the corner of the room , holding court. Entertaining members of the orchestra, and some young girls from the public relations company, that he had recently engaged, to work on his behalf. Laughing and joking as if he had never uttered those, cruel devastating, uncaring words he had said to her.
She had used the inviting white powder herself, from time to time. when tiredness had overcome her. When her concentration was lacking. When she demanded energy of herself. She maneuvered herself closer to the assembled crowd, who surrounded and were enthralled by him. When he attention was drawn by some other pretty young girl, among the group. She took her chance and scattered a small amount into his milk, and thinking back to his earlier words, she put in a touch more, and to finish, just a little more. She quickly stirred it with her finger, while everyone’s attention was else where. Then she moved away to the corner of the room, where she still had a view of the now ‘special’ drink.
She watched and waited, spurning the attention of the tall Italian man with his dark, handsome features, and silver tongue. She had other matters in mind. On the other side of the room, he still held court, with his adoring fans. Those who hung on his every word and utterance. She checked the watch on her tanned bare arm, willing him to drink the doctored liquid. She needed to see him ingest it, before she could feel some satisfaction. Minutes ticked by, towards the performance. Yet that special drink remained untouched on the table. His arrogant, overbearing laughter and voice filling the room, and turning her stomach at the same time.
‘Go on, you bastard, drink it, damn you’, she muttered under her breath.
‘Go on’, she whispered,’ drink it.
‘Drink it’, she said aloud. The nearby waiter, turned towards her, glaring for a moment.
But his attitude soon softened, and he smiled, when he saw her flawless skin. Her clean brown mousey hair, that tumbled over her shoulders. Her clear grey eyes, still showing a little of that sparkle that usually filled them.
‘Certainly Madam, I’ll see to you in just one moment’.
At the other side of the room, at last he picked up the glass. Again, urgently she silently ordered him to finish the damn drink. He looked at his watch, took a deep intake of breath, and swallowed the liquid in one fell swoop. He briefly winced at the unusually bitter taste, and stared at the glass he held in in his. The assistant called him, to make his way towards the stage. He replaced the glass on the table , and looked back at it, one more time. Dabbed his face with his handkerchief, and headed towards the auditorium. She followed shortly after, and took her place in the orchestra pit.
She watched as he joined the rest of the orchestra on stage. Glorifying in the adulation he received. Ignoring her, of course. She waited and watched. Willing the white power to take effect. Why was it taking so long ? Was it not pure enough ? Was it cut too much ? Finally a reaction, just a slight one. A brief uncharactistic shake of the leg. Barely visible, except to those attuned to it.
The applause died down, and silence descended on the hall. The house lights were lowered. The audience waited, the orchestra waited. Everyone waited . He waited, staring into space. The orchestra had practised well and knew the composition inside out. He waved his hand out to the left, and the strings began. He waved the baton to the right, and the trumpets, oboes and tubas began playing slowly and gently. The orchestra leader, smiled and nodded to him. He in return, faced away from the orchestra, and faced the audience. The orchestra leader, cleared his throat loudly to catch his attention. No luck, so he repeated it. Again no reaction. In her seat, playing the cello softly, Emily began to giggle to herself, quietly. The conductor swivelled round at speed, nearly falling over, and had to grab the rostrum to prevent himself from falling head first into the orchestera pit. Some in the audience stifled their own laughter. He briefly laughed aloud, at his own clumsiness. The orchestra leader glared at him, his eyes aflame with anger and bewilderment. The composition was being played at a slow, gentle pace, as befitted the required tempo.
The conductor began to move his arms more erratically, and at an increased speed and the orchestra followed his movements. The cacophony of sound and discordant notes emerging from the orchestra pit, were anything but the peaceful and melodious composition everyone was expecting. The orchestra leader, again cleared his throat loudly, and tapped his musical stand rapidily with his violin bow, but to no avail. The conductor was no longer of normal sound mind, as the illicit white powder began to take full effect on his body and mind.
Then when all seemed lost, he seemed to have regained his composure and skills as a conductor, and led the orchestra through the more complex stanzas. With that completed, his movements again became fast and erratic. The orchestra followed his leadership, producing discordant, tuneless sounds. In her seat, Emily followed along, her face now brightening into a wide smile, as were her eyes. Her laughter barely contained within her shaking shoulders. So it continued, the unexpected acceleration of the composition, the sudden slowing down. The discordant notes, strange melodies not of this world. The conductors wide eyed staring engagement with the audience, followed by his dismissive attitude, and then a warm loving attitude toward members of the orchestra. His running around the orchestra pit, screaming. Then shouting. Then laughing, loudly. Tearing at his tuxedo. Catcalls and laughter began to emerge from the stalls, as this farce unfolded onstage. Some left the theatre in frustration. Emily glanced high up into the theatre, where the executives, and producers from the record company were seen leaving their private box early, shaking their heads in bewilderment, and laughter.
Quite soon after, stage management wary of their good reputation, brought the curtain down, and as the house emptied, led the frazzled, bewildered and out of control conductor off stage.
Revenge was indeed sweet.