The Performance

by Daniil Sosonkin © 2002

"Finally! You are here. Come, sit down."

"Evening. How are you today?"

"Very well, thank you. Beer?"

"Just coffee."

They sat quietly both lost in their thoughts. Then The Friend said with anticipation: "I doubt I came here to drink coffee in absolute silence. So tell me, what am I here for?"

"Certainly, let me just gather my thoughts. It's not very simple. I better say it's unbelievable. You do promise not to tell anyone."

"We talked about it, didn't we? I will not tell a soul."

"Perfect." - The Conductor sat there for a few minutes gathering his thoughts. - "Its about last month's performance at the Central Park. I know, don't tell me, it was a disaster. It wasn't my fault; there was no choice and obviously I wasn't informed beforehand about this. All right, sit back; drink your coffee. Let me tell you what this is all about.

It is hard to find the time when everything began. Everything was going as planned. I was announced and was making my way toward the podium and then a sudden flash of white light blinded me. For a split second I couldn't see anything but white. It was all around me; there was no source of it. It was gone before my eyes could adopt themselves. I was still walking the same way and nothing seemed to be wrong. At that time I didn't give it a thought, but hum of thousands of people was gone. It was entirely quiet, not a single squeak or peep. Also, I was at the spotlight and couldn't see anything but the way I should go. Besides that, everything else seemed the same. Therefore, I ignored the flash making a mental note to myself to ask later. When I approached the podium there was a note laying on the booklet. I still have it."

The Conductor reached inside his jacket and pulled out an envelope. Inside there was a neatly folded white piece of paper. He unfolded it and gave it to his friend after a quick glance. The latter read through it. Then, being quite surprised reread it again. With a look of astonishment he handed it back. "Conduct the whole performance without a stop? Did you actually do that? It obviously looks as a joke." - asked The Friend.

"This is precisely how I took it at that moment. I was going to ask someone, but as I told you previously, I was in the spotlight and it was hard enough to see the orchestra in front of me. Obviously I couldn't see anything else. Therefore, under the pressure of the audience I had to take this note seriously and proceed as scheduled. I had begun.

I don't even know how to describe what had happened next. It was unlike any other performances given. Immediately after the beginning there was this smell; a very pleasant scent of some flower I suppose. If a smell could have a color it would be pink; for some reason I imagine it this way. It was present throughout the concert.

Shortly after I couldn't help but notice some peculiarity in the sound. It was absolutely perfect. I don't know how to describe it, but that's how it was - perfect. No outside sound; nothing to distort the perfection of the melody coming out of particular instrument. Each note was played with such precision I still wonder how it was done. There was no noise whatsoever; the music was in its purest form. Not a single instrument I heard thus far can produce this kind of melody no matter how well it was done. The orchestra didn't make a single mistake throughout all the performance too. The most complex parts were played flawlessly. If it doesn't sound amazing to you, it does to me.

It wasn't all that happened to me. About five minutes into the concert I went into some kind of trance. It wasn't the trance entirely, to be more correct; this is the closest word for the description of that feeling. It's hard to tell what was going on since my memory is somewhat fuzzy. My mind didn't drift away into some reality nor there was no feeling of drunkenness. I was taken by the music and was madly driven by it. It wasn't thoughtless mindless madness, no; it was clear state madness, one that drives you toward perfection. The music was flowing inside my mind and very soon I was able to see it. Don't even know how to convey this to you. I didn't see it in a sense of the word 'see', there were no pictures, I think; but I did see the music. In addition to aural experience of music there was visual as well. It sounds as impossible as it is." - The Conductor sat there lost in his memories. - "This was my performance. I didn't notice how fast it went by since I didn't want it to end, ever. It felt good, more than good, actually. Every sense in me was active and this experience is not something you forget.

But it did come to an end. The moment I was finished everything has disappeared. The scent was gone; my mind was back to normal state; everything else was gone too, literally. I was standing on the podium thrilled by the experience. There was pitch black all around me. I was sure at a time there was no one around since there was no light and no sound. Then, there was an explosion of light and clapping. Everything was illuminated instantly and I could see all around me. Everything is the word to describe since I was no longer at the Central Park. I was standing on a small podium at the center of the huge theatre shaped as a bowl. Rows of seats were filled with people. All of them were standing and applauding me. Some were bowing to me, no idea why. There were thousands and thousands of people all around. The end couldn't be seen. I couldn't see any faces clearly nor could I see who those people were. I was very surprised to see them all dressed into black. This is something I wasn't planning for anything similar therefore I simply stood there looking around in astonishment.

I don't know how long it was going on, but before I could comprehend the situation wholly, there was the same flash of white light as before. This time I was standing at the Central Park where you found me. You know the rest of the story." The Conductor was sitting with satisfaction clearly visible all over his face. It was as if he got rid of biggest problem facing him.

"This... is really amazing. Are you sure this is what had happened?" - asked The Friend.

"Yes, everything is pure truth."

"Well..." - The Friend was lost in a thought. - "What can I say, this is something you don't hear every day."

"You bet."

"But let me surprise you with something too." - once he had Conductor's full attention he proceeded. - "You are not the only one who had this kind of experience. Musicians all over the world keep disappearing in the same manner. My job, as a reporter, is to collect those stories and I was told to keep them out of public eyes. You, as my best friend, are the only one who knows of others. And my promise still in power, I will never tell about it to anyone."

"This is very surprising you know." - said Conductor with sincere surprise. - "I thought I was original. In fact, there were so many ideas in my head afterward that I don't even remember most of them. At some point I thought I was taken by aliens, but you can see how absurd this sounds."

"Not too absurd I should say. Others don't even make any sense at all! Don't worry about it. Everyone has a unique story. Yours is one of the best, to tell the truth. Lets go, I'll show you other's."

x x x

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