INEFFABLE

Piano music drifted up to her as she leisurely strolled the aisles of the exclusive Manhattan department store .. not the unremarkable, annoying background Muzak one usually hears in waiting rooms and elevators. No, this was definitely different. 

Being a devotee of the piano, she was convinced no one else in the world could possibly love its sound more than she. Enchanted, she felt compelled to find the source of the music. 

As she approached the escalator, the volume increased minutely. Gliding down, gently floating closer and closer, she realized “this is LIVE music”.

Arriving at the store’s café level, she stood still, tilting her head slightly in the direction of the beckoning music. Sensing an invisible hand on the small of her back, she swayed slightly as the unmistakable melody of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” trickled above the polite chatter of the ladies who lunch. 

 “Someone is definitely playing the piano” she thought, quickly adding “Oh, please, don’t let it be one of those self-playing digital pianos.” 

Now the music was clearly audible and she followed the winding hallway from the escalator into the center of the café area. Suddenly standing before her in all its glory was a glimmering ebony Steinway baby grand. The lid was open, revealing the hammers and strings, but concealing the pianist .. if there even was one. 

As if on cue, she heard a silky rich voice as smooth as Maker’s Mark Bourbon singing and she imagined Harry Connick or Frank Sinatra. “Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you.” As she made her way around the curves of the Steinway, the illusive piano man came into view. She kept her eyes downcast, afraid to look, and just listened as this sorcerer cast his spell on her. 

Slowly she raised her head to surreptitiously glance at the singer. He wasn’t the handsome, debonair Harry or Frank .. actually, he looked more like Woody Allen .. but when he caught her eye everything fell away and all that mattered was the here and now. She approached him tentatively, her hand gliding along the piano, eyes still locked with his. 

Ruefully she thought to herself “Why do I always fall in love with musicians? I would follow this man anywhere.” The feelings deep within her heart, her body, her soul were ineffable ..  impossible to comprehend. She sat beside him on the piano bench, their legs touching. 

Please”, she whispered in his ear. “Don’t ever stop playing!” 

NAR © 2018

FOWC with Fandango: Embrace

LAMB STEW

As she kneaded the dough for that night’s supper, Liliana caught a glimpse of her reflection in the open kitchen window. The wild child from years ago had been replaced with a confident, sexy woman. No cover girl, for sure, but not bad at all for a well-seasoned dame of a certain age. 

Long brown hair, hazel green eyes and a captivating smile more than made up for her slightly prominent Sicilian nose which only added to her unique beauty (or so she had been told). She was not tall and thin but her legs were long and her curves voluptuous. No skin and bones, this one. Laughing lustfully, she thought “more like a handful … or …. a ripe mouthful”. She laughed at herself often … another appealing characteristic (or so she had been told). 

Her laughter rippled through the sun-kissed Sicilian air. Brushing an errant lock of hair from her face, she continued kneading and massaging the dough with sensual, undulating back and forth motions. 

Looking outside, she noticed the handyman Gaetano across the veranda smiling, watching her appreciatively. Should she smile back or simply ignore him?  She had seen him working next door several times before … no movie star, he … but there was something intriguing about this stranger. That familiar fantasy began surging in her mind. Was it his powerful arms, the cigarette dangling from his lips, his crooked smile, the devilish twinkle in his chocolate eyes? 

Chuckling heartily, he pointed to her, then began wiping his face with his hand. Glancing quickly at her reflection, she saw a streak of flour across her forehead and nose. Mortified, and barely managing to maintain her composure, she reached for a towel to clean her face. Suddenly he roared with laughter and she realized in her haste she had wiped her face with the discarded flour sack, not a towel. 

Now she, too, was consumed with laughter, tears streaming down her floured face, doubled over in giddy convulsions. Regaining self-control, though still giggling despite herself, she stood … only to find she was face to face with this charming rogue. As if in a trance, she allowed him to gently wipe the flour from her face, her eyes never leaving his, tiny gold flecks dancing provocatively as he looked at her intently. 

“I prepared lamb stew for supper. Would you like to join me?”  

“Si, cara. I would love to.”  

NAR © 2018

THE RIDDLES OF LOVE

PRINCES OF MAGONIA!

YOU ARE SUMMONED TO VIE FOR THE HAND OF PRINCESS AMIRA!

Fifty answered the royal command. Upon seeing Amira, everyone gasped; she was stunning. The double of her late grandmother, she grew more beautiful every year .. skin as white as porcelain, eyes as blue as crystal waters and hair the color of the stars. Her loveliness was surpassed only by her cleverness. She longed to be married but found men boring and inane. 

Amira motioned for everyone to sit and in a confident voice addressed them: 

“One among you will be my husband! Marriage is not based solely on appearances. To win my hand, you must be clever and smart. These fifty parchments, one for each of you, contain three riddles. You have two days to solve them. Record your answers on the parchment, returning them to my secretary. Use your brain; only a clear head and clever mind will win my hand.”

Forty succumbed on day one. On day two, the remaining ten reported to Amira’s secretary. Nine answered incorrectly and were dismissed. Only one had all correct answers. Placing the parchment in her desk, the secretary presented the victor to Amira. 

“Greetings, clever prince! What is your name?” 

“I am Khalil but I am no prince. I am squire to Prince Wahid. He could not answer your riddles.” 

“And YOU can? Let us begin!” 

   “I can only live where there is light but will die if light shines on me. What I?”

Khalil answered “A shadow.”

“The more there is, the less you see. What am I?”

He replied  “Darkness.”

“What disappears the moment you say its name?”

Khalil said “Silence.”

“Excellent, Khalil! All correct! But you tried to fool me.” 

“Wahid is a dolt, besotted only by your beauty. He is not worthy of you. Please afford  me one opportunity. I have a riddle for YOU. If you answer correctly, we shall marry. If not, I will leave immediately.” 

Intrigued, Amira agreed. 

“He loves a princess though his blood is not royal.

He has nothing to give, just a heart that is loyal.

He has no earthly treasure but is clever and smart.

And can promise his bride all the love in his heart.”

“Who am I, Amira?”

 Reaching for Khalil’s hands and drawing him closer, Amira whispered:

“The answer is YOU.

You are honorable, clever, fair of face

AND

my future husband.”

NAR © 2018