I gave the institutes a try. I fell in and out of music. I enjoyed the blissful sleep of freedom. I cherished waking up to the perfect mix of strong coffee and the soft burn of hand rolled tobacco. I absorbed the earthly wisdom from books passed down. I searched the depths of being to find a cure for my longing. Each new indulgence only managed to deepen my hunger.
I stood at the edge of the deck at the University of Karaymoore located in the ruling city of Kingsight observing the crowd a wavelength away. The streets around the university were packed with horse-drawn carriages belonging to the social elite. The crowd had assembled in the distance. They were there to listen to the last lecture of Professor Lintek on the lost history of the Angeland Kingdom. Other than the chatter in the distance and a lonesome saxophone player, it was quiet. It was calm. In the distance, the sun was slowly sinking behind the mountain peaks. I was far from home. It was there in Kingsight, the ruling city of Angeland Kingdom, during my quarter life crises when Hope walked in.
My surroundings blurred as she came into view. She had on black suede heels that knocked down the floor with every step she took. There were no bows nor flowers. They emanated confidence and reliance. She had on a grey tartan skirt and a generously embroidered casaquin that signaled an abundance of wealth. Her steps clicked louder and louder, one in front of the other, as she made her way.
She reached the edge of the deck. Our eyes met. We exchanged pleasantries. It was formal. Her skin glowed in the shadows of the setting sun. Her voice was a mix of sand and honey. As delicate as a songbird. As perfect a mix as a sphere of milk chocolate melting away through its wafery crunch into its soft inner core in the heat of the moment. The hypnotic rhythm in her tone left something to be desired. Heartfelt and hospitable like whip cream on hot chocolate.
“That saxophone sounds sentimental,” I commented.
“It does!” Hope replied.
“You like music?”
“I love music,” she responded with exceptional excitement. “I sing all the time!”
“That’s good,” I replied. “What do you sing?”
“Oh just anything! I am always singing when I’m home.” Her revelation caught my interest. Good singers were hard to spot in Angeland. Good female singers were even harder. An immediate rush of excitement broke through my walls of resistance.
“I can’t sing to save my life,” I confided. “I can play Ambient Hues though.”
I noticed an honest sense of curiosity in her eyes. Her head tilted slightly to the right. “Is that a song?”
“No, it’s a genre. All the music they play in Angeland today is based on the Ambient Hues.”
“I don’t believe I’ve heard of it,” she said.
I didn’t expect her to know. “People in Kingsight think it sounds sad. I don’t see it that way. The Hues are about one man standing alone to face his fears.”
“That sounds interesting,” she said. “I am going to look it up.”
“They don’t have the most poetic lyrics but the music is good.”
“So you like the music?” she inquired. Her head tilted slightly to her right as she waited for an answer.
“Yea. It’s about the soul. It hits you. You can feel all the emotion in the music alone. The lyrics, although there, aren’t the focus.”
“Okay, give me a name. I’ll look this up.”
Her excitement was magnetic. Her sincere curiosity reminded me of myself a decade ago. Her words came out fast, like darts. “Try catching a Kazax Feathard show if you can,” I said. “This gentleman was a bastard. His mum slept with a sailor she met in the western city of Riverbranch. Eight months later he was born. He never met his father. Then some 45 years later when he himself had a baby, he didn’t know how to be a father to him. That’s what inspired the song.”
“That sounds interesting,” she said. Hope pulled out her little note book. She held a chiseled pencil in between her fragile fingers and scribbled the name down on her little note book and set it aside.
“You really use that little notebook?
“Yea! I use it to note down dates for plays in Kingsight”
“You like plays?” I asked.
“My mum, she gets mad at me for being at the theater all the time, but really, it’s a good escape,” she presented her case. Sincerity and conviction echoed in her tone. She shook her shoulders ever so slightly. Her palms opened up candidly. Her rings sparkled.
“Which plays are they putting on these days?” I asked.
“I watch any and everything they put on at the ‘End of Circle Theater’. My mum asks me why I’m always lost in it long after my day ends at Karymoore University. I find it relaxing.”
“Sure is,” I said. “I just watched ‘Havvitar Heart’ at the same theater”.
“I loved that play,” Hope interjected. “My brothers and sisters, we are always talking about it.”
“About ‘Havvitar Heart’?”
“You watched that play with your siblings?” I asked in disbelief. “There is blood in every act.” ‘Havvitar Heart’ was the popular play in Kingsight in those days. It was written and directed by Tulipa Renoseani. With her plays she had gained fame in Kingsight and was soon to be given the title of ‘King’s Entertainment’.
“Yea! My brother, he is the same age as me, we have this thing where we break into the other person’s room and narrate the most recent play knowing that the other person has yet to watch it.”
It was clear she had a close knit family. I was envious. “How many siblings do you have?” I asked.
Hope responded but her voice sank beneath the saxophone. She blurred out and the surroundings came back to life. Seconds later Professor Lintek stepped up to deliver his talk. I returned back to the solitary act of watching life from afar.
Categories: Crimes of Passion