iii. Moments aren’t repeatable.
The next day, at the end of her jog along the wharf, Kate stopped at the square. Another musician played, and she anticipated experiencing transcendence again.
She’d woken up happy, hopeful that, even if painful emotions arose, she could face them, “turn towards” them, and then it would be OK. Maybe she would even get through the Christmas season and the week after, before New Years.
She drank deeply from her runner’s high, relishing the tickle of sweat thick with dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, down the small of her back. She was primed for a repeat of yesterday’s performance.
But this violinist presented an entirely different experience.
The tones his instrument produced were choked, strangled, stretched tight until they veered off the harmonic and into unsettling dissonance.
He didn’t turn towards; he turned away, and Kate had to pace the courtyard to try to find that sense of peace again.
They’d strung up lights in the courtyard–pink, this year, for some reason. Pink was the new white. When she’d been a child, her father brought her to the city for a performance of “The Nutcracker,” and afterwards, they came to this very courtyard where a 30-foot Douglas fir stood, strung with white lights and thousands and thousands of paper cranes.
“You see, Kate,” said her father, “it’s a peace tree. Even at Christmas, which to you is all about candy, fancy dances, sugar-plum trees, and gifts, we think of peace. That’s all it is, really, though to you, it is all about excitement.”
There was no tree in the courtyard this year, and the lights were pink, and the fallen leaves still dotted the cement, and the violinist grimaced and screeched out soured tunes, and it was nothing like it had been when she was a child, or even yesterday, when she had tasted the peace of the clouds, the wind, and all-that-is.
But maybe, it was OK, for it was a moment, too, even if a moment unlike others, and even if it was filled with noise. It was filled with something else, too, though Kate, on that morning, could not identify what that something-else was, a something that was both familiar and foreign simultaneously.