Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Backstage at the Opera -- Part 3 of 5

This is part 3 of a scene from Where Love Once Lived that takes place in the green room after an opera. This is fiction, of course, but based on my experience.

“Yes, of course,” she said, “the Combine. Brian, you need to
update me on the rest of the guys sometime.” She turned to Tony.
“What about you? Is this your career? Opera, I mean?”
“I wish.” Tony pulled hairpins out of his wig and put them on the
coffee table next to Brian. “You have to be able to travel to make it
in opera. See that guy over there? He has a house in Houston, but
he’s gone ten months out of the year. He’s one of the top singers
right now, and we’re lucky to get him here in Austin. I can’t go anywhere.
Dad had a heart attack, and I took over the family barbershop—
oh, that’s a boring story. Tell me, do you have any children?”
“One. Julie’s a student at UT.”
Tony pulled off his wig, and he looked strange with a hairnet on
his head. It wasn’t long before he removed the pins from the hairnet
and had it off too. He held the wig gingerly in one hand.
“I’m going to be in trouble for doing this myself, but I can
only take it for so long.” His hair was a mess, even after he brushed
through it with his free hand. “University of Texas,” Tony said. “Oh,
those were the good old days. I remember how you and Brian were
always together. Everyone in the Combine assumed you two would
marry someday. It was a match made in heaven. That’s what everyone
She watched as Brian squirmed.
“You’re quiet tonight,” she said.
His only response was a smile and a shrug, proving she was
“He’s quiet because I know what happened,” Tony said scratching
his head again. “He told us all about it when he came back to
town. We told him he deserved what he got.” He stood, still holding
his wig in one hand, and looked at Brian. “He’s sorry, Karen, dear.
Deeply sorry. You should’ve heard him at the last meeting. You must
forgive him.”
Karen looked at Brian who silently rolled his eyes as he sat on
the sofa next to Karen where Tony had been.
“I told her I was sorry,” Brian said softly.
Tony stood in front of Karen, so she grabbed his arm, wanting
to explain.
“What we had then may have seemed like a match made in
heaven, but evidently it wasn’t. I hope you don’t think we’ll ever
get back together.”
This only reminded her how deeply she loved Brian and how
much it hurt when he left her. She glanced at Brian and wondered
what it would have been like if they had stayed together.
Tony looked at Karen, grinning, and took her other hand in his.
“You still can’t lie, can you?”
“I’m not lying,” she said, half believing Tony knew what she was
Tony pulled her up from the sofa.
“Karen, you’re so sweet, so lovely. I might marry you myself if
this lug doesn’t step up soon.”

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