Τρίτη, 1 Μαΐου 2018

THE FOUR LANTERNS - LOST VOICE

Distant Tavinos did not walk around in the public areas of the hotel. He had his meals in his room. His secretary had taken the next-door room and arranged everything. When he rarely went downstairs for a drink at the bar or a walk in the garden he always wore sunglasses. He knew that the tenants had recognized him but he couldn’t stand their stare. He felt that they now gave him stares of pity and curiosity rather than admiration like it was before. And the past was not that long ago. Distant Tavinos was the most famous tenor in the world. He had all the fame, recognition, wealth that a mortal could have. He was devoted only to his music, his study and his hard work. He had succeeded in filling the operas of all the cities in the world and having the concert tickets sold in less than an hour. He had made the audience love the arias and opera stories because they all saw his passion for what he did. 
For the last sixteen years he was also devoted to Ontour, his dog. He had found him when he was a puppy in a park being actually on tour. He took him and they became inseparable. Ontour was with him wherever he went and the audience, besides flowers at the end of his performance, would also leave something for the dog backstage from biscuits to collars and hand knitted t-shirts. They grew old together and time left its marks on them. Ontour died of old age at the end of his sixteenth year. The shock loss was enormous. Distant Tavinos withdrew from music because he found no joy in singing anymore. He turned his back to all the cities of the world that stubbornly wanted him. He gave up everything he loved because he had lost the one that loved him the most. The press and the media were on fire. Front pages and reports were all about him for a long time and the big question was when Distant Tavinos would appear on stage again.
And when that storm was over a stronger one came. The tenor had lost his voice. He didn’t appear because he had no longer the voice to sing the arias in such a way to bring tears in people’s eyes all over the world. New big headlines even documentaries focused on the drama of the famous tenor who had lost his voice after the death of his beloved friend. Distant Tavinos was locked in his house that was surrounded by reporters. He made no statement to this human hive that waited for him behind closed windows. He waited for the cooling –off period. And when it did cool off and the last reporter left, he himself did the same with a small suitcase and his loyal secretary heading into the unknown. 
They booked two adjoining rooms at the “Four Lanterns Hotel” leaving the departure date open. Two months had already passed and they were totally satisfied with the discretion of the stuff and the tenants. It was a common secret that not only he didn’t sing but also he didn’t talk. He exchanged written notes with his secretary. He always carried a small notebook and a black pen and he communicated his wishes concerning lunch, dinner or business tasks. He would deny any proposal for interviews, turn his life into a movie or write his autobiography. He had no interest in any of these things. He had quit. 
He appeared one afternoon at the reception desk with his secretary holding their suitcases. He left a note on the counter. Jenevier read it and said: “He will be down in a second. While the bill is taken care of he will be here.”
Indeed, after a while, Alfred went down the stairs and smiled at them. 
“Alfred, Mr. Tavinos wants to offer you a small present. He would really like you to accept it” the secretary said taking a parcel out of his suitcase. 
“Oh, thank you very much” Alfred said awkwardly looking at the parcel and Tavinos.
The secretary wrote a check to pay for the stay. 
Alfred opened the parcel. He thanked them warmly and saw them off. 
“The tenor liked you, Alfred. I am really glad” Jenevier said.

Alfred said nothing and went to the garden. He opened the parcel again and smiled at the view of his gift. It was the notebook with the few remaining white sheets which the tenor used to communicate. Alfred had heard him sing, almost whispering, his favorite arias when he took his morning shower and he left his orange juice on the bedside table. He was the only one who knew that Distant Tavinos had chosen the world of silence and not the other way round.  

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