Afterwards, all the praise for the masterwork sounded down about her—a thousand healing voices descended and merged into one great rolling lilt. One voice and cadence born in response to an undeniable creative purity and power. And all for the creator’s ears alone. All for her.

The work had stirred entire worlds and concluded several stories. All difference in that space had transiently ended. Her work had allowed a truly sublime moment to arrive and it had grabbed casual participants and converted them into necessary celebrants.

Love. In this moment, right now, I am loved.

The undulating movements carried the memory of what had just occurred back to her, into her: relational feedback—and she had been so starved of herself. So alone in company. So thin. So not needing yet needing: the queer nature of artists.

She stood before them and their ocean sway—so, so much. She could only put her head down.

One side of her mouth smiled. If they only knew… but how could they? They wouldn’t believe me. …It doesn’t matter, not right now, not in this moment—they love me. No, no: they love the work.

The work had been lovingly—compulsively—assembled one piece at a time: modes, structures, spaces, heights, repetitions, variations, colors, textures; but never themes. No, such signposts are often hammered on by others needy for such things. A lifework like this, however, lets meaning come along in its own time.

And she always thought in visual terms. Always felt and emoted aesthetically. Always a performance. Not to be thought deceptively or hiding, only ever too aware of scenes. —Such awareness is draining. The delicate balance of faculties wears down and moods step forward to claim their kingship—we were feeling long before we were thinking.

The clapping ocean, still thunderous, had steadied.

She bowed. Thank you. Thank you. This moment will pass, I know, soon I will once again be no one to you, our love will end, but, for right now—right now—in this moment… we are lovers. Thank you.

She rose slowly. Raised her hand. Bowed. And then slowly, gratefully, exited the stage.

No regrets. It was all true. And it will take time to forget this. It was a salvation. Someone will remember. And even if they don’t…

Backstage the stygian chains were then understandingly placed upon her wrists and ankles and she was led below.

And some time later the one voice slowly peeled and spiraled back upon itself as the transient end of difference ended, giving way to a thousand glowing strangers left amorous and wanting.


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