Beyond Reach – Chapter Two: Her Voice

Chapter Two: Her Voice

What would the Terrazzo family think of Rosabella examining the darkness for an unseen poet with the same intensity as she reviewed the company’s balance sheets?

What would the investors think of her staring at brightly lit balconies with the same scrutiny that she followed the company’s share price?

For that matter, what was SHE thinking? She reminded herself that her twin passions were running the business and leading the family. And that love affair was still strong after fifty years.

What did she care if an anonymous voice called out a few words in her direction?

What did she care if her vanities showed the merest of curiosity?

What did she care indeed!

She turned to walk inside when she saw the apartment and balcony across from hers was dark.

She stared and looked and looked and stared into the darkness and-

-There! The tiniest of a flickering light. Surely it was a candle – gently bending and swaying – twisting to its own rhythms. Dancing alone on an empty stage.

She leaned over the balcony railing for a closer look and . . . the flame disappeared. She retired for the evening.

Not to sleep; perchance, to plan.

The next day was full of business for the Terrazzo family. Except for the Favorite Niece who was running errands for her aunt.

Everyone had an opinion on how the business should run when Rosabella retired.

She corrected them frequently, “That’s ‘if’ I retire, not ‘when’.”

There were grumbles which she ignored – or stared down.

The schedule was finished and, with the Favorite Niece now returned, dinner was served. As with the prior evening, the meal was magnificent and everyone headed to the balcony.

The niece pulled Rosabella aside for a private conversation. She handed her aunt a folded piece of paper. They read the contents then joined the others.

Again the moon and stars came out. Out of the darkness came the words of the unseen poet:

You are a rival
To the moonlight
Glowing and shining
In directions all.

The audience on the street, breaking all known social distancing rules, looked up for Rosabella.

The poet went on:

The stars in the sky
Dare not to compare.

The neighbors in surrounding apartments stared at her balcony.

The words continued:

You are a beacon
Piercing the night.

The Terrazzo family turned and saw their Great Lady surveying the scene.

She smiled at her niece – who, of course, smiled back – and stepped to the balcony. She stared directly across the street, re-read the folded piece of paper, and spoke:

Neighbor! Your voice is
New and quite pleasant.
Your words are thrilling
To this ancient soul.

The Terrazzos were stunned. Their Great Lady had spent half a century speaking of ledgers and balance sheets not ‘thrilling words’ or ‘ancient souls’.

Nonetheless, there she was serenading into the darkness:

May I invite you
To emerge, and step
Onto your balc’ny
That I may speak with  . . .,

The neighbors and improperly gathered street crowd buzzed with excitement. Who did she wish to speak?

‘Who? Who? Who?’ They called out for her answer.

The Terrazzos, save for the Favorite Niece, spoke nervously among themselves not knowing where her soliloquy might go.

When she sensed her audience could not tolerate another moment of suspense, Rosabella revealed the name of the secret poet:

Signoré . . .
Mattia . . .
Ballaconia.

A bomb could not have made a louder explosion. The first shock wave had been Rosabella speaking in words and tone and style that matched the anonymous poet.

But when the residents heard the name to whom she spoke – Ballaconia! Mattia Ballaconia! – the atmosphere became electric.

He had founded Nuovo Galleria on this very street. But the gallery was long closed and no one had seen him in years.

All attention turned towards his darkened apartment.

End of Chapter Two: Her Voice

About the Artist:

The art for BEYOND REACH is by N. Krok. The artist is a graduate of Raritan Valley Community College and is finishing up their degree at The College of New Jersey in Art Education with a minor in Art History. They enjoy graphic design, art history, and finding new adventures to read and writing some along the way.

Chapter Three: Mutuals will be published on November 9.

Author: William Spear

William E. Spear has written for audio since 1994. His book, "Lit Between the Ears, Volume One: Chekhov, O. Henry, Spear and Tarkington On the Air," was released on July 31, 2006. He founded Two Plus Plus Productions LLC in 2006 and is President. He founded Hunterdon Radio Theatre in 1999 and has written over 15 plays since. Spear's work has been broadcast in New York and New Jersey and his plays have been published on web sites across the country.

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