I've been in NYC for a week now and my relationship with this city is alarmingly still alive and well. I fell in love with its energy at the age of 18 and can confidently say that it is the one city that continues to romance me. When I resided here for a summer while working on a project, I felt ever so present and confident with myself, and every year that I come back, I experience new happenings (and, of course, food) that also somehow reflects the relationships that encompass me during that particular time. This is a place where being independent is everyone's core, but it's also a place where you're allowed to cry in the midst of strangers. (Google it. Tumblrs galore.) I love it.
When I was living here a few years ago, I loved having permission to be independent and free. I read a record amount of books during my daily commute, nomadically wandered around the city without a care in the world, and felt strangely communal with total strangers who were also happy to be given permission to just be themselves. I grew strong.
Since I left and have been residing in Chicago for the past few years, I feel as though that I may have lost some of that strength. I'm not sure if I still have the pillars I built for myself while I was here - or, they just might not be as foundational to how I operate right now. I'm also strangely not panicking about this realization.
The other night, I went to Carnegie Hall to see a piano recital. The pianist happened to be a Korean girl who graduated from the same college that my mother graduated from so that was something. She was going to be playing music from 3 different composers that I am fond of so I was ecstatic for an evening of sound.
I got there a bit early so that I could sit in Carnegie Hall's presence. It's a gorgeous place that is majestic in its existence, and you should try and pay a visit if you're ever in NYC. I took some photos and waited for her to begin.
The first half of the performance went well. I could tell she was a bit nervous but I could also tell that she had been training herself to fall into the music with honest artistry while performing. She was good. Everyone else in the room thought so as well.
But the second half of the recital was what I was really excited about. It was separated into two pieces: Richard Cornell's Lutine Bell and Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Sonata No.6 in A Major, Op.82. During Cornell's piece, she played her heart out and was able to express her tone through the piece that is different from other performers. It was quite beautiful and the audience was pleased.
And then it went silent. For 3 straight minutes.
The room started to stir tension and began to look to others in the audience for some sort of affirmation of the confusion that was flooding the room. She then looked at us and stated:
"Thank you for coming to my recital. I really appreciate it. At this time, I cannot finish my performance. Thank you, again, for coming."
She walked off stage, the lights came on, and the room trickled out.
On my way home I thought about what she did and why she did it. I also wondered, if I were in her situation, "Would I be able to do that? Just walk off stage and quit?" It was bold, embarrassing, human, and a litter of other adjectives that would take a while to list off. "Did she forget? Did she panic? Was she feeling like she performed her last piece so well that she wanted to walk out on top?" I literally have no clue.
I know I've written my analysis on a lot of situations but this experience is beyond me. I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it and I'm not sure I care to. It was strange and puzzling.
I grabbed a slice of pizza and shrugged it off. Have you ever abandoned ship like that?