The street that night was full of noise, but not sound: nothing rhythmic nor organized, with no melody nor discernable rhythm.
Televisions. Car alarms. Overloud conversations and the repeated sneezes of some poor asphyxiating neighbor in a maddeningly close vicinity. Drunk bums yelling loudly, sirens, and the passing noise of other nighttime neurotics. None of these were unusual, and at this point I was accustomed to hearing them. I was becoming increasingly amused with the uncontrollable sneezing and had counted all of twenty-three when I heard it.
Emerging above all other noise was the sweet sound of music—something in G minor. It was strong. The reverberations of the wood sounded like Birch to me, and the melody was unmistakably Beethoven. The name of the song eluded me, but the sound of it invited me, and instantly I was at the window peering through the blinds and across the lamp lit street.
The house was a two-story duplex, Spanish stucco with an large wooden door. It was a lonely house, and I say that because I had lived here for months and had never seen its inhabitants. If it was deserted, I’d happily volunteer—it was much bigger than my studio, and I could only imagine the spacious back lawn that I envied entirely. The bottom story featured a large window with heavy brown curtains, and rarely had I ever seen them drawn.
Tonight they were: a lovely grand piano sat in the corner of a brightly lit sitting room, and a lovelier woman sat behind the keys playing the loveliest music.
Instantly I was captivated. I jumped from the window to the doorknob and thrust it open in haste. She was a beautiful blonde dressed in white, the kind of girl that needed only one talent to get to the top. And yet here she was performing Sonata No. 19 like she had done it all her life, with the technique of a professional and the agility of a goddess. A muse that played too, and better than anyone I had ever heard.
I was across the street in seconds and launched myself upon her doorstep. With a catlike swiftness I brought myself to a halt and lowered my left ear silently to listen through the door.
The song to me always evoked the rain. I kept an image of a cloudy day passing by a high window, with rays of sun briefly poking through the grey and promising wondrous things to come, but instead just layers of fog, with enough glances of sunshine to keep me convinced it was still just a moment away.
I was enamored with the dance—that between expectation and delivery, between anticipation and ecstasy—between sound and music. Dancing alone brought me to the threshold. But the combination of the timing, the proximity, and the mysterious beautiful woman was stronger than most anything I had the pleasure of coming across.
Then the door opened and she was there, emerald green eyes that reflected the golden bracelets of her resting arm as she held her paper-weight on the door. Her other hand held two empty wineglasses. I stepped inside and she closed the door behind me, leading me to a white Victorian sofa and bottle of wine—dangerously red. She poured it fearlessly over the fabric and didn’t spill a drop, then one for herself before raising it to mine. She was flawless in every way.
We drank and I watched the liquid move down the sinews of her neck, beneath her supple breasts and down into her abdomen. I licked my lips and tasted Cabernet. Then she licked mine and I tasted hers. She was off me sooner than I preferred and back at the piano and into D minor. I poured myself another glass.
The notes started soft and her timing was perfect. The stops were tremendous and when the music returned the pace was ideal. Still she sat expressionless in total concentration, and I wanted nothing more than her gaze for just one instant. The volume increased as the movement gained steam, but stopped as sudden as it had started, whispering and then crawling back into the sprint that we had started with. My entire being was spinning in circles.
It was a pleasure like nothing else—music, this mysterious sound in the night. Nothing could surpass its powers of transportation, of driving a mind miles from the present and into a dream state where colors glistened like waves in sunlight. I let it take me and I wanted nothing more. Total relaxation, the pleasure of a sonata from start to finish, played with practiced emotion and perfect maturity.
In between trances I noticed her drinking her glass of wine and apparently playing the keys with only one hand, undisturbed and unchallenged as she progressed through the works of the greatest composer in history. She set the glass down and granted me a smile. Then her hands came down with force into the finale, and she disappeared behind her façade and back into the music.
It was so lovely, I thought. The music, the woman, the glass of wine and the comfortable sofa. A moment of pure bliss, where nothing could seemingly be better, and brought a sense of fulfillment that most spend their whole lives pursuing. My neck fell back on the headrest and I exhaled deeply. The stress of the day vanished. My body sunk deeper into the cushions. Gracious sleep beckoned and I lovingly accepted, while the descending notes carried me deeper into reverie. I felt my eyes closing upon themselves.
Somewhere a white door opened and there she was, placing her gentle hand on my face and pulling me closer into her body.
Something cold on my face and I was awake again. It was her hand, frigid and still welcome. The vision vanished but she hadn’t gone. She drew down toward me from my seat on the chaise. Behind her the music played on but I did not wonder how or why. I only knew the moment to be true, and I leaned in to kiss her.
She stopped short, my exasperated breath falling swiftly on her lips. She brought one finger across my mouth and motioned my silence. Then I heard her voice.
“What would you give for this to last a lifetime?”
A voice replied. Not mine, not at least in any conscious regard had I responded in words. Instead, it was my body, my entire being, from the hairs on my head to the blood in my veins, that answered in a state of euphoric acceptance.
“I would give everything.”
A faint smile cracked her lips and for just a moment a light flickered behind her green eyes. Then she tilted her head and kissed me, and caused an explosion in my brain.
I couldn’t remember what happened after that. In some unconscious state I saw the colors again and heard music, and eventually both faded into the distance and left only white blankness. The exact details remain vague until my recollection returned upon waking.
I was sitting on the antique white sofa, with an empty piano in the corner and the sound of music still coming from somewhere nearby. The curtains were drawn and the room was dark, but no room could truly shine again without the angel I had just seen. I nearly tripped over the footstool on my way to the window. The music was closer—C minor. With much balance I made it and shoved the heavy brown curtains aside.
What I saw astonished me: a miraculous woman in white playing the piano in a brightly lit sitting room. It was the exact same sight I had seen from across the street, only now it was mirrored, and the woman in white was facing west.
That is odd, I thought, and I turned my confused eyes back toward the room behind me. The piano was gone, the sofa was a bare bench, and the Victorian furnishings had transformed into padded white walls. I tried to protest but found myself bound, my arms tucked tightly into the sleeves of a locked jacket. For a moment I fought the urge to scream, but I was quieted when I heard it again—the Music in the Night.
Across the street the woman continued to play, pausing only once to wink.