Stopping time is akin to traveling to your own world. And being in your own world is the most suffocating experience anyone can imagine.
Blaire strode unto the stage, head held high, her gaze fixed on the cello with the lights all illuminating it. She felt one soft tendril slip out of her chignon and over her bare shoulder. It simply made her look more fabulous and she knew it. Her vibrant red evening gown bared her décolletage and back and brushed the floor, hiding her bare feet. She was in the lights now, stepping into the glow of the cello. She took her seat, flipped the strand of hair over her shoulder, and melted into her embrace of the instrument.
And finally, finally, she looked out across the audience.
A sea of utterly still faces greeted her. Thousands of people in front of her, pale ovals and dark clothes blending together, painfully distinct and separate. Staring into those faces, the silence around her seemed to multiply, to increase exponentially, to swallow everything.
She let out a shaky laugh and was immediately embarrassed, could feel her face flushing deeply. Then she remembered – what did it matter?
The bow in her hand was trembling, but when she set it against the strings, it stilled. Her eyes closed, and she began to play in the vast emptiness.
And it was beautiful. She could feel a tear and then two slipping down her face, she could feel her soul soaring, she could feel her body alive with the music she was creating.
She opened her eyes, and everything – except the music – halted. The same sound that had been ethereal and haunting when she ignored everything around her was suddenly bland and uninteresting. The crushing silence, the absolute indifference of the theater destroyed any beauty she thought she was creating.
For a few painful minutes more, she played, but the moment was ruined.
Her hands again trembling, she pushed the cello away from her. Silence again descended. For as long as she could bear it, she stared at all the people who could not hear her, did not know she existed, did not care that she had just poured her heart into her music.
She thought the pain she felt in her chest must be her heart breaking.
Finally she could take it no longer, and she rushed off the stage, stumbling on the hem of her dress, feeling her hair come unpinned.
Backstage, she cried. And cried. Nobody could hear her anyway.
Was she wounded deeply? Was her spirit broken? Perhaps. Uther didn’t even attempt to make himself care. Blaire had always fled from anything painful. Perhaps her largest failing was that she couldn’t understand that only the song of fools had to be heard to be loved.