They called themselves Les Rêveurs— the dreamers. She is known as the Gilded Lily amongst them. They roused themselves only on nights like these. When the world seemed to be burgeoning with a million trysts, threatening to burst like an overripe fruit. When the sins of the whole can no longer be ignored. If only to be plucked and savored! With a maiden’s hands delicately wrapped around a plum with the flesh of midnight, she poised to bear down with the first bite, to feel that slight resistance, and then sweet surrender.
Her fellow revelers consisted of the villages’ most beautiful, the elites, the marauders, the fiends of love, the scoundrels. Thieves that stole the innocent hours of the night in a great lustful tragedy of Morpheus. No winged, barefoot steps among their fervent abandonment on this night. They donned on their finest: capes and fur coats, tailored waistcoats with a trim of gold or lace, elegant opera gloves, and jewels and pearls that were rumored to have traveled the roads from the deepest jungles in India or were deliciously plucked from the coiffeurs of ancient Egyptian royalty. Mysterious in their velveteen masques, walking in and out of the shadow. In swirls of satin and perfume and laughter, each would take on the form of their chosen personification in the god’s absence.
Above this gilded lily ran the parallel traveler, the unbroken road of the starry sky. The city wore a stark masque of pale obedience when the sun governed the heavens and daylight only blinded when an onlooker strained to peer through its guise. The velvety seduction of the night would appear cool after the almost mechanical dance of the city under the sun. Fiery torchlight held still by a single steel rod that curled at the end in a curious gesture- as if the city jests in dark merriment at its brighter persona. The light it cast weaved an illusion of grandeur and wet pavements. And, in a blazing ascent in the night’s first ovation, they lead the way to the opera.
But not now……This lover of night, this precious thief paused in the glittering current and cherished the deeper, darker call of the city’s allure. Further ahead in a grand opera hall, the orchestra sounded the first chords and les Rêveurs already crowded the balconies, a discreet touch exchanged here and there. The rich wine overflowed, the laughter robust, and sensual poetry was whispered in earnest, enticing their elegant flower to join. Alone in contemplation, she balanced on the edge of oblivion. The pull of the city’s own veiled seduction poised to take her under, and not above, in the climax.
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Musical Accompaniment: Vivaldi Cello Sonatas RV 40/42/46 – Roel Dieltiens (1991)