Silent Admiration of Bianca

The Bistro was filled with the sound of jazz music, smell of fresh wine pouring in merging with the various mystifying essence of flowers used for decoration made the atmosphere euphoric and alive, and in the midst of this Bianca sang softly making the guests of the night dancing to her tune. She was singing a light romantic song and the young couples were enjoying it much, slowly moving their young bodies and dancing with the music the young girls appeared lost in the warmth and comfort of their partners. This went on till late in the night and when every guest was gone, Bianca was left alone with her band. The band was not her own, the members just accompanied her as she was just an employee in this Hotel hired for singing and entertaining the guests. She started packing her stuffs, took her share for the night from the Manager and went to her abode.

Bianca was a woman in her mid thirties, she was a strong woman and has been able to survive in the city because of her singing. She was tall, fair complexioned and had a good sense of fashion, so she kept herself prettily dressed up, yet with certain decency to keep herself safe from the vultures of the night who came uninvited for her profession, that of a Night Singer in a Five star hotel. Every night she sang and came back to her abode which was a lonely place. She didn’t like it here, she always felt better on the stage of the hotel, where she stood for hours singing, surrounded with lots and lots of people, who enjoyed their meals aided with the free music and entertainment served as complimentary. Bianca knew it and saw it every day that all the people sitting in the dining hall were least bothered about her presence and was too busy to lend her an ear. Still she sang as it gave her good money. But somewhere deep inside there was always this strange feeling of  hollowness of being a nobody, she felt that time has been clogged and she was standing on the verge where things around her are moving fast but she is caught, lost and already dead in a space.

She sung and sung night after night; being an entity with no existence she often wondered that the music which used to be her passion and her dream one day is now only a mode of her living. She started so young but today being a middle aged woman, now longs for a company, of a  man, someone to share her life with, who will make her the queen and take care of her and she will not have to sing again. She will sing only for him but not for the world anymore where she doesn’t exist. Amid these many thoughts going in her mind, almost every night while singing, tonight her eyes suddenly met with a man who was sitting three four chairs behind diagonally at a table placed at the corner. He was sitting alone, and for the first time Bianca felt that someone was actually taking interest and listening to her. Knowing this Bianca a certain spark of excitement and happiness ran through her whole body and she felt somewhat more energetic while singing. She enjoyed the attention and suddenly her voice changed into a more tuneful “Cuckoo”. She loved this new feeling and to her surprise another thing happened, that man stayed late very late till all night guests were gone. He kept drinking and listened Bianca sing.

He was a man in his forties and appeared lot younger than his age. Bianca noticed he had a well maintained body and a handsome face to fall in love with.  The next night Bianca awaited his arrival more anxiously like ever before, her eyes were laid on the front door of entrance to the Bistro. He came dressed in a white Tee and in blue denims, Bianca noticed, and the sudden spark travelling invisibly into the room, from him came straight to her, she was all charged up for the night. He gave a greeting smile to Bianca and went to his corner table and ordered two bottles of wine. Bianca standing like a corpse and singing a while ago before his arrival, switched to some peppy numbers and to her surprise the whole room was electrified and the guests enjoyed more than she has seen them before. Today she received more compliments from the new guests, the regular ones, and from him, but he gave her more than the compliments, he gave her the time she needed. Besides being the music lover and appreciator he was a true gentleman accompanying her singing, and was the last guest on the table. It was time for the Bistro area to be closed now as it was past midnight, drunk again he was requested to leave. He came with his full conscious, but now he was not able to stand properly and dragging himself with limping legs, the manager asked his boys to help him to his car. Seeing the view of being supported by the waiters to the car; this time Bianca couldn’t control herself and jumped into  the scenario making an expression with the hand asking the waiters to leave, she took him by his shoulders giving support, and together they went to his car. Bianca saw his was a chauffeur driven car and understood she is not at all a match for him. She stood there and watched his car got invisible in time.

That night! Bianca couldn’t sleep a wink, her mind was riding on the wings of fantasy towards a beautiful future. She felt a strange stream of anxiety while remembering the incident of getting the opportunity to hold him and feel his masculine body, she only was thinking about him. His perfume she smelt on her clothes again and again dreaming of many wild things, smiling unknowingly, she realized she was falling for him. After fighting with her thoughts the whole night, and with the arrival of the dawn, Bianca made the decision that tonight she will express everything, the way she feels about him. She knew it that he liked her more than her, and this gave her much confidence without any fear of getting rejected.

Much awaited the night has come; tonight Bianca has dressed in a beautiful white dress with minimal accessories but a prominent make up to bring her features more alive. Her entrance in itself became dramatic, tonight she actually made many heads turn and she could see the expressions of envy on the faces of the other women present in the dining hall. She was the angel tonight served with other fineries in the room, there was a bizarre admiration in the people’s expressions, and she was also enjoying this newly acquired attention. She thought, “If these people are so attracted towards me, how much would he be?” This brought her immense pleasure and excitement both. She began to sing beautiful romantic songs with full enthusiasm as it was her night. Constantly keeping her eyes on the door; she finished singing her third song. She watched that the couples were enjoying her charm of singing and began to feel each other’s love, some young couples came on the floor to dance, while some elderly couples held each other’s hand and looked on to the stage spell bounded with Bianca.

Tonight there was some magic in the air and love could be seen flowing along with the soft music in the Bistro, Bianca feeling bit worried from inside as it was quite late from his usual time of arrival. She took a glance at the clock; it was now 10, 0’ Clock, night was getting deeper and darker, though night has just begun for the love birds present in the room. Music and wine with all the fine cuisines, made the ambience rich, but Bianca’s heart was filled with oceans of tears which were finding their way to flow, her voice now became heavier and deeper. She felt like running away the very moment, but her feet were glued from the platform she stood on, it was the compulsion of her job which became a curse tonight.

The night ended and all the guests were gone, he didn’t come. Bianca was alone in the Bistro, standing on the stage motionless, shocked and heartbroken. She ordered a bottle of wine for the first time, and quietly sitting on a table she gulped it all. Usually Bianca talked to no one in the staff, she did her job, took her money and left, she was standoffish and never allowed anyone to come closer to her. She never stayed a second more after her performance was over, but tonight she was drinking and tears rolled down from her cheeks. This strange behavior of her grabbed the attention of the Manager Mr. Golmes who was not a very friendly man, yet he asked, “Lady you alright there?”

Bianca said, “I am alright Mr. Golmes, just feeling unwell for not existing in this world.”

Mr. Golmes a man in his fifties, short and pot bellied with less understanding for emotions and people, didn’t understand the meaning of what Bianca said, yet he gave some words which brought great comfort to Bianca. He said, “Bianca I don’t know what is wrong, but still I will give you a word of advice. Here we are just puppets bind with the ropes of superiority and are seen as that only. We can move but on purpose, people come and go they don’t want to find the real emotions and faces behind our glamour faces. They come here to enjoy their dining experiences with all that we serve here and not for the story of our hard work included in it. Don’t expect anything from them not compliments, not attention, not praising, and most important not love.”

Bianca looked at him, with tears full in her eyes. She stood and quietly took her share for tonight. She was about to leave when Mr. Golmes called her and said, ‘’ hey Bianca you look beautiful tonight and you sang real well.”

A smile ran through Bianca’s face, she looked even more beautiful. She said softly, “Thank you Mr. Golmes.” And she left for home.

Bianca came the next night with all her grace and charm, and sang again for the guests present. He never came after that night, the night Bianca while giving him support, silently gave away her heart. Perhaps she has understood the truth that he was just a passing cloud who came and went with the wind of the time. Her eyes are not wet anymore she sings for the world, but her world still remains hollow. No one ever came to know about her silent admiration, it remains as silent as ever. She continues to sing, somewhere still silently waiting for him, or for someone who will break her free from this cage of eternity…………..

*Monalisa Joshi*







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