TRAVEL PORTRAIT 92: December 9, 2021

Out of the Wilderness [listen]
[one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | part ten | eleven | twelve | thirteen]

A pre-Covid continuation of a fictional story.

Frank, realizing that Celia was a short distance from the concession stand, wished he listened to the usher who tried unwittingly to point him in the correct direction. He reminded himself that he was not in a crowded subway car when he plotted the path.

"I don't know. I don't have an opinion."

"Oh, that's not it. You don't have an opinion because you don't care!"

"Listen. This is the first time I ever heard of Cante Gitano Flamenco let alone the guitar great Simpaticas."

"Yeah, sure!"

"Look. I'm here, and I'm trying to get use to it! Isn't that enough?!"

"Excuse me," beseeched Frank nervously as he attempted to wedge between the quarrel—both taking a moment to look away in exasperation: the man with his arms crossed; the woman with one hand on her waist, the other fluttering against the opposite clavicle.

Shoulders hunched, Frank's hands were pressed together in front of his face pointing in the direction he was headed. The gap between the two widened; however, the rift closed immediately once he stepped past. The couple resigned to the fact, in the wake of the ireful undertow, that they were forever prone to impassionedness. Their mimicked wry smirk indicated their mutual fate, which they were familiar.

Celia noticed Frank's upstream wriggling. She chuckled when his fatigue caused him to apologize profusely after he brushed elbows with her rival's partner. Celia interrupted the mea culpa and pulled Frank aside by the wrist.

"I can't believe this place is so packed," she brimmed with mirth. She smiled, flattening her upper lip and aimed her champion visage at the intended.

Frank revealed that he did not fare well in large gatherings.

"From what I've seen, you're not a fan of small groups in elevators, either."

"So you noticed."

"Yes, I did. Let's work on that beer-buzz. My treat on Brian's tab."

"Seltzer with lime will do for now, thanks."
Celia ordered two of the same, and was fine with the lemon substitute.

While giving him the refreshment, "can I ask you a question? Are you a lightweight? Because Brian is a heavyweight."

"He's an art consultant/curator, right?"

"No. I mean, yes. Sort of. Brian likes to drink is what I meant to say."

Frank was a bit put off that Celia did not follow his complimentary attempt to change the subject. He hoped she would be more amenable to providing insight on Brian's professional practice. He took a sip to ponder the awkward moment.

Celia held the plastic glass to her lips. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the taunting woman with her husband in line purchasing a drink. The woman made a friendly salutation.

"Brian went outside to make a phone call. Let's catch up with him. We shouldn't talk businesses anyhow."

Frank tossed his empty glass into the receptacle as did Celia place the liquid container without a splash.

Brian got their attention when they exited the building. He was standing with his back to the facade.

"You two having fun," he joked.

"How's he doing," asked Celia jealously.

Brian sniffed. Thinking before he spoke, "Fine. We will be meeting a colleague of mine after the concert. Frank, what do you think thus far?"

"I found the atonal singing accompanied with the tonal guitar licks phenomenal. I wish I could've translated the lyrics so that my understanding wouldn't have been so abstract."

Brian exhaled a laugh at Frank's bluff, then commented, "So if I understand you correctly, what you're saying is ‘if you knew you were coming, you would've baked a cake?' Is that the crux of your subtextual comprehension theory?"

"Cante Gitano Flamenco is a traditional Spanish form of music centuries old with various styles and metric combinations, if you haven't noticed by the rhythmic clapping," explained Celia. "I started taking flamenco dance lessons a couple months ago. That's, that's why I purchased the tickets."

Brian rolled his eyes at Celia's cultural edification attempt.

"How's your seat in the nose bleeds," hectored Brian.

"The altitude is fine. There's plenty of breathing room. The audio is fantastic, which is great because there wasn't much to see on the stage. Thanks for the ticket."

"My pressure. Perhaps we should go up before the rush of the pack."

Frank bowed his cranium in obeisance.

Celia knew that Brian was being his cantankerous self. She wished he offered to sit in the balcony. At least then she would be able to sit with someone more receptive to the program.

Brian entered the Hall. Frank stepped forward. Celia tugged his sleeve and gave him a worried look, which he interpreted to mean that he was being discourteous.

"Sorry. After you."

The lobby lights wavered dim-bright, dim-bright, dim.

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Copyright © 2021 by Edward K. Brown II, All Rights Reserved.