|Picture Credit: Veniamin at Deviant Art|
The summer had lasted too long. The sun was blazing and the earth was parched. There was no sign of clouds. The workers at the plantation toiled on in the heat and the dust, collecting the tobacco leaves. But they did not appear to tire. They rather seemed to be enjoying themselves. One could see a blissful expression on their faces. The reason for their joy would have been evident to anyone there for she herself would be drowned in similar ecstasy. Divine music was emanating from nearby. Music from the heavens to invigorate worn out spirits! Soul’s true music that could even awaken the dead!
One did not have to look far to locate the source of the music. At the edge of the plantation, right next to the boundary wall was a dirty plastic chair. A weathered old man sat on the chair with a lute in his hands. He wore a dusty old dark suit and grey trousers. A ragged cap covered the white hair on his head. One leg was all he needed to bear the weight of the magical lute. He did not seem to have a care in life. The world could not conjure enough illusions even for his single eye. His music seemed to be his alpha and omega. Nothing more did he need. He was the music and the music was he!
The music paused for a while to allow him to take in a few breaths of dry air. Two minutes forward in the physical world gave his mind time to go two decades backward. The concert hall was packed to capacity. Graf von Zeppelin, known to be one of the greatest patrons of music sat in the front row. A handsome young man stood at the center of the stage, a mandolin in hand. He wore a shiny black suit and crisp new trousers. When he played the whole hall was held spellbound. There was pin drop silence. When he completed his piece, the whole hall broke into applause. He just loved it. It was so intoxicating.
He bowed to the audience and began to play his next piece. His eyes happened to drift towards the Count. The music seemed to have lulled him to sleep. He ignored the Count and tried to concentrate on his music. The show turned out to be another spectacular success for Gerhard. People crowded around him to praise him during the post concert dinner. Chief among them was von Zeppelin. He usually enjoyed listening to words of appreciation from the rich and the famous. But today every time he heard profuse praise from the Count, only the image of him sleeping through the concert came to his eyes. All the praise seemed so hollow. He began to wonder whether all these people truly appreciated music. The rich and the powerful were probably attracted to any success and glory as flies to light. They did not have any interest in the music as such but just wanted to bask in this glory. They wanted to enhance their own reputation by associating with him and showing themselves to be great connoisseurs of art and music. These thoughts stole away his appetite.
He silently bore all the empty words of flattery till the dinner got over and finally headed home. He threw himself into his chair and wept. His whole success story looked like a cruel joke - a cosmic tragedy. He did not know how many glasses of Schnapps he had before sleep finally embraced him. Mist swirled in front of his eyes and suddenly the most beautiful woman he had ever seen appeared out of thin air. She wore a single garment of lustrous material that seemed to reveal more than it concealed. She held a flute in her hand. She had a deep sorrowful look on her face. She spoke up, “Gerhard, I am heartbroken. You have not been true to me. You have forsaken your true love and taken on a treacherous mistress – fame!” She turned around and slowly began to fade away. He could not bear the thought that he would never again see those lovely naked shoulders; the shining hair adorned with a laurel wreath and those shapely legs of pure ivory. He cried out, “Please do not leave me. I promise from now on I am all yours. I will never chase hollow fame. I shall play for you and you alone” He suddenly woke up with a start. He had dreamt a dream.
He had got carried away in his memories. Two minutes had extended to fifteen. He gave a brief sigh and resumed playing.
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This story has been posted for following 3 prompts:
Thursday Tales prompt #55 picture meme
Carry on Tuesday meme : "I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?"
Three word Wednesday Prompt: Evident, Tragedy and Illusion