She had such simple grace, like a blessing bestowed. Tall and thin like a reed, she swayed as she walked and her skirts swished around her ankles like a willow in the wind. She exuded a calm confidence and the aura of one who was grounded and secure in her being and when she spoke, the room quietened, hushed to a whisper as she held them spellbound with her voice. It was pure and clear, and as she sang, the notes were like a bird rising up into a brilliant blue sky.
When she finally fell silent the audience were all of a jitter, sensing they had been witness to something extraordinary. They were already mourning its loss as the reverberations of her voice disappeared into the ether and left them once again alone. These people, who for brief moments had been borne aloft, tranported by the magic that she had bought into the room, were left floundering. Clutching at the feelings that made their mundane world seem lifeless and without colour in comparison.
When she got to her feet to leave, in unison they began a mournfull chant that echoed and rang like a bell. Surging and pounding in its intensity, a dirge that accompanied her to the big wooden doors that marked her exit. One hand on the door, she paused and stood so still it was as though she had been cast in alabaster. Slowly she bought her graceful finger up to her rosebud lips and the ear splitting sound dropped like a stone. The silence was so heavy with expectation it had a palpable weight.
She turned to face them, and stood knee deep in the quiet that had descended. Her shining eyes returned their gaze as she whispered. . . "join with me."
From deep in her throat came a note that split the heavy silence, and energised the air with dancing light. She threw back her head and lifted her arms as the note increased in intensity.
One by one the assembled crowd became a choir, and the room and the people were filled with all they had sensed in her performance earlier, and they were no longer alone.
They were as one and they were magnificent.
She quietly opened the door and slipped away leaving them lost in their rapture, they had no more need of her. They had found their own voices.
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Images and words by Susannah Bec.