Every evening as she sat on the grass under her tree in the centre of town, while the sun still held itself in a position of warmth, she would review her sketches from the previous day, in part to reaffirm the memory, fixing it in place, but mostly to remind herself that this wasn't just the tail end of a dream that would cruelly awaken her at any second.
As she breathed in the scenery, the people, the moment - the knowingly transitory experience of actually living and working as a performer for the lunchtime crowds that patronized the cafes and market stalls surrounding the village quad - she would begin to sketch.
Her hands grasped the charcoal, as the canvas crowded with a thousand strokes, her thoughts would invariably drift to the anticipation of conversations held in the dead of night, resting against a pillow and the headboard of her apartment's single bed, the backlit screen & keyboard illuminating her face with an aethereal glow, that without seeing, she could feel gave her a look of mystery, which matched the man with whom she would hold court until all hours. They knew each other intimately on some levels, but on others to only a limited degree: for instance, she roughly knew what his appearance was like - he was tall, lean, moustached and of shaven head; but personal details such as names were limited to their online persona nicknames, which he had told her was his actual surname, and happened to be one which she'd long had an affinity with: Darcy.
Neither would volunteer a "goodnight", but instead waited for sleep to force itself upon one or the other. The connection between them was almost tangible, like nothing she had experienced before.
They had met through a creative arts forum, of writers, composers & artists of all description, and had been talking on & off for a couple of weeks now. Thirteen days in fact - she knew exactly - the last seven of which had been without break. Their nightly meetings now seemed to be mutually assumed. As an unspoken rule, they focused on art, music, and all things inspirational, leaving details and trivialities such as income & circumstance to the other side of life; that of daylight within which they'd never spoken, only almost: as they reluctantly tightened the tap on the words which still flowed while the sun threatened to rise each morning.
As a consequence, her performances had found new inspiration. The standards which were sung in French, English & Spanish were always well-received by regulars and tourists alike, but they had taken on new meaning for her, as if the words were speaking directly to, through and about her - but her favourite song each day was her signature piece, of her own composition: the Coda. Each day to her surprise, this would be extended by a verse or chorus, as she drew on the well at the core of her being where inspiration refused to lay dormant. It would often be met with an ovation, with which came significant donations, but she didn't pause to consider the additional financial rewards, as every performance left her filled with life's energy; a sweet smile on her lips, the corners of which telling another story for those who hold such recognition; her eyes glowing.
It was after these performances that she would buy herself a glass of mulled wine, fresh bread, brie, olives, and settle into the small territory she had claimed as her own - her favourite spot in all the world - and sketch as the world went about its business nearby, the occasional leaf floating to the ground in front of her.
She would draw the nearby trees, acorns & leaves, buildings, people, and sometimes her own imaginings, but today she found herself sketching piano keys, and wisps of air coming from the attending hands. The misty trails sang to her, as if she could almost hear the music coming from the textured page. No. It wasn't almost - she could hear it.
There were faint trails of beautiful piano drifting over the air from the direction of the hotel across the other side of the village square. In fact, she now realized that this music had always been there at this time of day, as afternoon rolled into evening - for at least as long as she had been coming to this spot - but it had blended so well with the overwhelming colour of the local environment, set against the noisy bustling of the market stalls, and had resided only in her sub-conscious, escaping her awareness until now.
She collected her belongings & headed over to investigate.
Set next to the street amongst the hotel's garden bar, under a glass awning that spread rainbows in several directions beneath, was a small stage on which was positioned a black grand, old but well-tuned. With his back turned towards her she could not make out his face, but could see the lengthy, strong hands attached to lean wrists, dancing warmly over the keys.
She found a position nearby, under a new tree, feeling immediately relaxed, she sat and listened, enraptured. The sound was so much more distinct from here - she almost cursed herself for not having noticed it earlier. As she sat there, knees to chin, eyes closed, inviting the pulses of sound to wash over her in melodic waves, she realized that she did indeed recognize these melodies. Her sub-conscious was more attentive than she'd realized: as one tune ended, she knew the next to follow.
And so she found herself after an indeterminate length of time, lost. Only that which awakened her was the final song, that seemed to welcomingly go on forever, but it was somehow different; changed, as if she recognized - albeit sub-consciously - that it had been extended, added to. In this she felt an immediate and deep connection - a common thread between two like-minded individuals, without having ever spoken, without having seen his face, without having met, she could feel the bond that only kindred spirits know.
Pensive when the piece ended, yet spent & fulfilled, she applauded enthusiastically from her spot, only to be drowned out by the polite clapping of hands from the first wave of evening diners.
As he stood up to leave his post, she realized that she knew his face. He would regularly drink coffee at one of the cafes near where she performed, while writing in his journal. In fact, unbeknownst to her he had been sitting at the same spot every day, arriving early to be sure of reserving his seat, just to listen to her sing.
She watched him as he collected his coat and exited the building, starting towards the green. As he crossed the distance between them, he glanced over and saw her, giving her a kind smile. She shuddered, before he was called back to the hotel entrance by the concierge, waving a small item in his hand, "Monsieur Darcy, your phone".
It was at that moment that life came together.
(from a 2AM dream)