last night, i dreamt of a cavernous stage. a singing woman, holding the audience in the palm of her hand, cascaded her way through a song i had never heard before. the gargoyled cast swayed around her, hiding their faces from the crowd, while she shimmered in the garish lights. her dress was radiant, as if adorned by the night sky, brilliance incarnate. the midnight stars were draped around her shoulders. and just as the stars, she was elegantly static. the stage and the lights created the illusion of intimacy, an inorganic nearness.

yet, from my seat in the crowd, her face was obscured, my view broken by the silent and still spectators in front of me. her voice bled through the walls, submerging the room with her song, and the minutes seemed to stand still under the weight of her unintelligible words. art’s effortless manipulation of the laws of gravity and time. as her aria ended, the final notes hanging in the thick theatre air, i realized my hands were shaking. the bodies stayed in their seats, but i rose to my feet to better see through the lights. the woman was looking out past the crowd and she was…crying.

i turned around to align my view with hers, and i saw You.

You stood at the auditorium entrance, yet in place of the lobby doors and neon exit sign as expected, there was a intemperate sea; its name and location unknown to me. the last rays of light were crimson brushstrokes upon the clouds, as if the setting sun had pierced the sea. the last rows of theatre seats were empty, slowly sinking into the frothing surf. the beach was achingly empty, except for You, silhouetted against this bleeding evening sky.

(cartagena, columbia)

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About Eric Skelton