THE STORY OF MARIE FABI AND A CAMEL-COLORED COTTON CREW NECK SWEATER
A Novel in Twenty Minutes or Less
Preface: This is a long story to be posting on a social medium - note correct use of the singular form - and at first I thought I would just post the whole thing in one big floop, but then I decided against it for obvious reasons. So this will be chapter one, just in time for Valentine's day and then as I add each chapter I will include some breadcrumbs you can follow through the forest, unless they are secret passages or maybe wormholes you can go through like on Deep Space Nine, but whatever they are they will take you back to the beginning, which is going to be pretty far down the well by the time we get to chapter 8, assuming there is a chapter 8. In any event, no matter where you happen to come in, you will be able to find your way back and catch up on what you missed just in case you came late to class or even missed a class which is ok, don't worry, I'm sure you had a good reason. Please just don't tell me about it if you don't mind too much; I've got troubles of my own.
1: Shimmering Red Lights and Ultramarine Blue Orgasms
Two summers ago we went to the opening concert of MISQA and heard the Miami String Quartet do Mozart, Shostakovich, and Mendelssohn. They were about halfway through the Menuetto of K. 387 when I first noticed the lights dancing on the stage, moving towards me, shimmering and disappearing. Good Lord! What is that? I must be experiencing synaesthesia or something! After all, I know someone who sees colors whenever she does math. There was a guy in my class at Yale who played the tuba in the Yale Marching Band who sees colors when he listens to music. And one time I read about a person in one of those articles by Oliver Sacks who said that during certain tender moments everything melted into a field of ultra-marine blue.
That was the fictional version. I never read anything about this in Oliver Sacks, so don’t bother yourself looking for it. In real life somebody actually told me about her experience with synaesthesia during “. . .um you know. . .” because she was embarrassed to say orgasm but not embarrassed to tell me something about hers. Apparently just at the moment when . . . um, you know . . . everything melted into a shimmering field of ultra-marine blue for her. That’s what she said – ultra-marine blue. I had to look it up. Her husband was embarrassed that she told me.
Anyway, how interesting that you might be able to identify such a specific shade of blue when you are absolutely beside yourself, which is technically what ecstasy means, a state of mind experienced during orgasm or so I have been given to understand. Be that as it may, the colors I was seeing did not include ultra-marine blue and they had nothing to do with ecstasy, mine or anyone else’s. The colors were emanating from Cathy Meng Robinson, the second violinist, a lovely, sweet faced woman wearing those very wide bell bottom trousers in a soft clinging fabric, and a sleeveless top covered with red and silver sequins. Lesley Robertson wore a similar top at the Haydn Festival in 2009. I don’t recall any shimmering lights but who on earth would ever forget Lesley Robertson?
The sequins on Cathy’s top caught the light and danced with the slightest movement of her upper body, which was not so easy to see directly because the dark-clad first violinist blocked the view. I was absolutely fascinated with the ordered rhythm of the dance and the chaotic behavior of the individual lights blinking on and off. It was a splendid concert all around, much appreciated by a packed house at Pollack Hall. Montréal audiences tend to be very demonstrative, but the response that night was – well – ecstatic.
The Miami String Quartet is particularly gracious in their acknowledgment of applause and they are also good at bowing in unison, something you don’t often see at these events. You would think an outfit like the Emerson String Quartet might practice bowing, but evidently they don’t think it’s that important. They might want to have a word with Eddie Goldman or maybe The Duchess, who actually did make us practice bowing. I have already told you something about Eddie Goldman and the Duchess , so this is where we pick up the thread from the front end of a cross reference. Here's The Story of My Early Musical Career, just in case you have a taste for digressions or you want something to do while you're waiting for chapter 2.
We were much more than satisfied with the music, though I don’t think we could say we were ecstatic. I think it might be possible to become ecstatic at a concert; My Mysterious Friend told me she once did, but I wondered if it was perhaps a bit unseemly or possibly just a figure of speech on her part. It could have been the Mozart Requiem that was the occasion of the ecstasy. How about delighted? Yes, I think we could say we were delighted. On the way home we passed by Simon’s on St. Catherine Street where there were three young men break dancing. One of them had a whole lot of braids with silver tassels or something hanging on the ends. I don’t know what you’re supposed to call those things. The dancing was amazing. And finally we took the 105 home with another lovely, sweet faced woman driving the bus. We forgot to ring the bell for our stop, so we had to walk three blocks back to get home. On the way we decided to stop in for a pint of Cherry Garcia at the dépanneur on the corner of Sherbrooke and Harvard, which we hadn’t had for a long time. I am at a loss for words.