Fiction Saturday Encore – from February 2015
When Sylvie Sang
This story was created as a performance piece. I presented it a number of times over the years.
It is longer than my usual posts.
I hope you enjoy it.
WHEN SYLVIE SANG the men at the bar would stop and turn on their stools to listen. The bartender would dry his hands, move to the end of the bar and light up a cigarette. The waitresses would huddle by the wall and hug their trays. And the drunken man who cried softly to himself in the corner by the door would lift his eyes and rub his hands together underneath an invisible spigot.
When Sylvie sang, the room was locked in glass and still – as still as a new widow hearing that first long silence.
In the spotlight the smoke was frozen.
“When Sunny gets blue, her eyes get gray and cloudy.”
When Sylvie sang she never really heard the music or thought about the words. She was far away in a small town by a riverbank, holding onto someone she loved. She only heard his voice, felt his heat, and the nightclub disappeared.
When Sylvie sang she wasn’t there and the people she sang for knew that because she took them with her.
“What would they say if we up and ran away from the roaring crowd?”
But the song always has to end and when the music stopped the men at the bar would turn again and start to laugh and talk. The waitresses would rush to cover their thirsty stations and the drunken man would close his eyes again and descend inside himself. Sylvie would go out into the alley and smoke until the next set called her back.