Sunday, October 16, 2016

I find myself faced with the greatest surprise of my life

Tonight, the night of my wedding, I find myself faced with the greatest surprise of my life. It makes me ashamed for what I have said about my bride, because in her chamber she prepared the loveliest, most thoughtful offering for me.
I am speechless, standing here before this beauty. With trembling hands I brush along the sweeping curve of the neck, which soars over my head. I stroke it gently, feeling my way down to the knee. Taking the bend I glide along the slope of the body, which is hollow, because this is where sound resonates, where it is projected inward and outward when a string is plucked. 
It is a large, floor standing harp. Its frame is constructed of some fine, solid timber, with fine grain, the likes of which I have never seen before. The column supporting the neck is delicately carved with decorations.
I am awe struck. Such grace! Such a magical instrument! 
Inspired, I think, by the archer’s bow, it transforms the shriek of arrows, the clash of armies, the cries of war... It softens them, turns them into notes, into harmony.
I pluck a pair of silk strings, and music—oh, heavenly music!—fills the chamber. More startling than anything I could produce on my old lyre, this sound is divine. It creates a new universe in my mind, suffused with glory... For a brief moment, all that has been happening lately in my life fades away, melding into the background, into darkness. 
And in that brief moment I wonder... Where am I? Where are my enemies? I listen for the screams of the victims as I wield my sword over their heads. I take note of the hush, the deathly silence sprawling behind me as I charge forward, stepping over the corpses to do God’s work. 
I am overcome. I am in tears.
“You like?” asks Michal.
I nod my head, Yes.
She stands in the midst of her maids, waiting for them to remove the jeweled coronet from her hair, which is arranged in a towering bun, fancier than any hair style I have ever seen on her before. How would she lie down in bed with it? How would she manage to fall asleep? I may understand the sacrifice women make for their looks, but not for this tightly knit bun. 
A long, frizzy wisp of hair flies out of it, which she quickly tucks back. The maids plait it into place again. Again, she is proper.
My bride glances at me. “Want to play?”
I shake my head, No.
In a blink, blush rises up her chin, her ears. To hide it from me, she turns her head away. Hanging from her earlobe is a large, ornamented chandelier earring, which the maids are struggling to remove. 
Then she passes quickly by me, with a tinkling of her gold anklet marking each footfall. She stops by a small window at the far end of the chamber. It overlooks the distant vineyards, the palace gardens, and the path leading, with twists and turns, into the throne room.
“I meant,” she says from there, “want to play music?”

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