Third Act

“I loved Africa and it stays with you,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs last year.

She said she caught the performance bug while performing in the school choir.

“That night I will never forget walking in and standing on that stage, having been not that interested up till then… Suddenly the orchestra started up and I sang so loudly, and the whole body vibrated,” she recalled.

“It was the most extraordinary thing I’d ever been part of. It was a piece of music I would never ever be capable of writing, and I realised from a very young age I would never be original. I would never be a great artist.

“But what I could do is I could be part of another great artist’s work. I could be an interpreter. That felt so good, not being me.”

BBC News, April 16, 2021

I can hear her hiss in my right ear. As if I never wrote and married and fell into this other life of children and facing my retirement in a town that smells of cow manure.

It is the third act. I am standing, stage left. Beside this glowing ember. She is my other half in this scene. The moment we step into the filtered light, we are changed.

Time falls away. Choices, duty, the dental cleaning…gone.

None of it matters anymore, because we have become, different. We have gone into that sacred space, leaving private insecurities and nervous gestures — designed to put others at ease — all behind.

Stop it, she hisses, you are a goddess. Act like it.

Then, she slaps me, hard.

The game is on…

I love her so.

And that is why I set “Fearless” aside. I’m afraid.

I’m afraid I’ll get lost again. When it’s over, I’ll turn to my husband — with his dull eyes cast toward the smartphone in his hand — and want to continue this scene, forever. He’ll say something stupid, maybe talk about dinner, and break the spell.

Then, I’ll see this as just another show, and not my life. I’m not in it. I’m somewhere else.


I’ll see what I could’ve been, next to her, turning on all my lights, and … I will truly want to die instead.

Originally published at on April 17, 2021.

Jazz Medium©: Feeling the music, one review at a time.

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