last saturday


I stood there, watching the group laugh, before focusing once more. The woman raised her hands and then, with a flick of her wrist, the group opened their mouths and began to sing. I leaned against the door and watched as the twin emotions of solemnity and joy painted their faces among uniform, o-shaped mouths.

Behind me, outside the window of the room across the hall, a storm raged. The movement of the trees caught my eye, and I turned from the music-making to watch another scene. Over the threshold, past the tables, and to the windowsill I went. The sky was grey. Wind and rain pummeled and shook the trees. Music floated in from the other room, the haunting melody of the sopranos and the rich melancholy of the altos, tenors, and basses creating a melange of sound. It was dulled by the walls between us.

The sound must have floated through the door.

I lingered by the window. The hopefulness of the muffled music contrasted with the wild wrath of the weather beyond the glass like some surreal scene in a black-and-white film. I half-expected to be wearing an evening gown and holding a glass of wine. I turned back to the group. The woman was speaking once more, giving directions on posture and tone; the sharp sound of her voice carried, though her tone was warm. Outside looked cold. The room was cold. The group began to sing again, and I passed back over the threshold once more and stood in the hall, watching the group.

My fellow guides had entered the room. One was humming along, his low bass voice creating more of a sensation than a sound. The other stood, back to the wall, and was smiling slightly. She must have done this once before; most choir kids do a workshop at one point or another. I had.

I stepped over the threshold of the room. The sopranos in front of me raised their voices–a soaring aria–as the melody flew away.

I hummed along, never wondering if the trees still quaked. They probably did. It didn’t matter. The music was warm.


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