Endless River Waltz - an Old Man's Tale
Breathtaking music from Johann Strauss’ An der Schonen blauen Donau rises above the moonlit river’s cool mist to offer him his irrefutable clue. The music reveals reality. Providence is authentic. Tying of the true love knot will come about this very evening.
He is captivated by the deliberately slowly moving, barely audible strains of the waltz’ heartrending creation. They stem from a faraway, unfamiliar setting in the secluded night. Their beauty imbues wondrous charm to the subtle tranquility of nocturnal peace.
As the waltz’ hesitant, opening notes join forces to form an eminent, stimulating melody, his heart accelerates to a vociferous drumming. He is breathless with expectation. His heart’s renewed hope for love’s miracle causes his uncertain spirit to believe in love yet again.
Hopefulness serves as his motivation. For that reason, he reacts with renewed fervor and tenacity. He pushes his cheerless, worm-infested, squalid rowboat with faultless resolve through soft ripples adorned by subtle echoes of the cloudless moment’s distant stars and mirrored, shimmering moon.
He listens delightfully as touching strains of the unseen ensemble’s glory transform the masterpiece’s easygoing melody into a stimulating, rushing waltz. He knows he is being held spellbound by the river’s hastening promise and the music‘s delightfully melodious, hurrying strains. In reply, he quickens his boat’s tempo of speed.
He is certain that with each fresh stroke of his hollow pole, a touch of regal style draws nearer from beyond the hushed river’s wide turn that looms ahead. It will be there, at the spectacular stately ball, where his true love will be secretly waiting in calm passion for his belated arrival.
He and his true love have never met. Nonetheless, he will know his adorable beloved straight away. He has seen her angelic loveliness countless times in his dreams. It is then he closes his eyes to imagine her unequaled splendor as if she is before him right at this moment in the soft, flickering light.
She will be gracefully waltzing to compelling tunes, her incomparable beauty the recurring focus of curious, envious eyes. Her curly, silken, blazing red hair will be floating loosely along her shoulders and down her back as she dances with natural ease. Her dazzling smile will hypnotize all who desire to behold its unblemished perfection. Her reddish, pink-flushed cheeks will be discreetly emulating the true shade of her indulgent, voluptuous lips.
She will be attired in a virtuous, ankle-length black evening gown. Its grandeur adorned with discreetly placed silvery flecks replicating far-flung stars’ pledges of everlasting faithfulness. As if to put the last touches on her brilliantly beautiful aura, silky thin dangling strands of threaded sterling silver earrings will barely obtrude from beneath her silky-smooth, crimson hair.
Suddenly, the far-away music’s tour de force turns to echo Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald. This poignant and thought-provoking musical piece evokes trance-like thoughts in his hypnotized consciousness. In his mind, he foresees that he has finally arrived at the dance. He is offering his hand to his darling sweetheart. She grasps it willingly, fully aware her moment - the moment of which she has anxiously anticipated all of her life - has arrived at last.
They waltz alone, for others are momentarily carried to the sidelines, powerless to move in the couple’s illusory spells. With blissful passion, the two lovers gaze into each others eyes for the undeniable escape. They know paradise awaits them around life‘s unavoidable, twisting turn.
Yet, in spite of the wonderful scene that fills his mind, he unexpectedly becomes mindful his nearly worthless craft has not traversed the twisting river’s turn. He also notices the captivating waltz plays on, but from someplace more remote, far-off than before. He listens appreciatively until the waltz is swallowed up by the night’s gathering haze. At that point, he realizes he has not advanced any nearer to the now unlikely vision he had imagined and so desperately longed for in his heart and mind.
It begins to rain imperceptibly. Tiny droplets of rainwater escape from the river’s nearly impervious, lofty canopy to soak all living and non-living things below. The falling droplets are reminiscent of wounded teardrops - teardrops mirroring his own. They slide indifferent down his smudged face to fall gracelessly into his sinking, luckless boat.
Accepting disappointment as a fateful affair of life, he slowly dons his torn and faded top hat indifferently. With a sigh, he pulls it low onto his forehead. Shrugging uncaring, he then slips on his shabby greatcoat to cover his aging body’s sagging shoulders from the cold. Then he closes his eyes tiredly to try to dream once more.
He is at ease. In spite of everything in the past, he now perceives the true meaning of the fading waltz’ never-ending refrain. And he knows - Providence will, in due course, quietly rock his heart in never-ending sleep. And, at the end of this night, genuine happiness will be his and his alone.
And on the shore upon a distant knoll just around the twisting bend of life’s mystery, his Lady in Waiting searches longingly with tear-swept, saddened deep blue eyes for her true love she has come to adore in her heart. A true love she shall never know.
©Eva Roblins 1999