I’m dreaming. I know I’m dreaming, because I’m at Opera Camp. I’ve never been to Opera Camp, not really, don’t even know if such a thing exists.
I’m dreaming I’m at Opera Camp.
I’m walking through what I know is the great hall. They are setting up for what looks like an event. Caterers, bars, white table cloths. I am perplexed.
Pulling someone aside I enquired as to the preparations.
“It’s the Finale Gala tonight! Didn’t you know”
I’m wearing a cotton dress over pajama bottoms.
Clearly I did not know about a gala.
I rush up stairs and find myself running through the rooms of a house, searching. I’m looking for accessories. The perfect pieces to turn my plain cotton dress into a gala worthy gown.
I need a belt, something to snug in the loose waistline and add definition. Nothing fits, the colours are wrong.
And I’m still wearing pajama pants
In the next room, I’m searching out shoes. Again all the wrong styles. Desperately I try to tame my hair into something acceptable. A chignon, a french twist… a pony tail for heaven’s sake! It’s hopeless.
Jewels all fall short.
The entire time I can hear the party… this magnificent glittering gala… happening downstairs. So close and yet- I hold myself back from attending. I just don’t have all the right pieces, how can I join the festivities in this condition?
In the end I’m left, barefooted, one shoe in hand, hair half styled, dress hanging loose… at least I’ve had the good sense to take off the pajama pants.
Standing in front of the mirror I stop, and look. For the first time I look at myself. I drop the shoe, let down my hair, fluff up my skirt. I realize that not only do I look just fine, I look effortless. Comfortable. Timeless and ageless and actually quite elegant.
Shocked, I take a breath and turn to descend the stairs.
But I’ve missed it.
The hall is dark.
The guests are gone.
The tables have all been cleared.
While I was fussing and trying to find things to make my dress perfect, I missed the gala.
I wake, an unfamiliar ceiling comes slowly into focus.
I roll to my side and see the man sleeping next to me.
That’s not on the list… and I smile.
I have a moment when I thank my subconscious for such a clear and succinct nudge.
Hey, stupid. You could spend your whole life looking for the perfect accessories, but you could miss some pretty great things. Enjoy the gala, it won’t last forever.
(Image- Rosina, John Singer Sargent)