In my mindís eye I see a place once described to me in a story and yet different. Perhaps it is simply a symbol of the reckless passage of time that flashes before our eyes in an instant, and then is gone. It is filled with a fairy like and memory hazed quality, this vision. It makes me believe at times that the recollection is nothing more than a snippet of a half forgotten dream.
The atmosphere is dark, but not eerie. It is colored over with the blurry cast of forgetfulness. Rich hangings in the background, velvet and silk brocade. Square marble tiles on the floor. Columns that rise in the background although exactly where is obscured. The entire scene is tinted in varying hues of blues so that the true color of the objects is indistinguishable.
Pieces of some broken mirror grace the wall or lay scattered across the floor. Perhaps there are prisms from a chandelier strewn along the cold marble as well. These details are not important. Some unknown light source filters into the room and strikes everyone one of the fragments. Slight specks of light twitter and flutter throughout the hall. One would think the stars themselves had been strung on gossamer spider webs across the length of the chamber.
In the center of this fairy world were two figures. They danced in slow twirling motions to music unseen. The young girl, of little more than ten, is one of the partners. Her white old-fashioned nightgown flutters as her bare feet complete the simple foot work of the dance. Her brown hair hangs unbounded down her back. She cranes her head back to gaze at the other figure. An adoring smile is ever fixed upon her face.
The other person is less distinct. It is a man, tall. It is more difficult to discern if her is in the prime of his life or closer to his middle years. Upon him is a set of black tails. His dark hair is slicked back from his face.
The two continue for several moments. The dance appears awkward. The man, presumably the young girls father, has to compensate for the size and inexperience of his younger ward.
Then a curious thing happens. A shower of sparkling light encompasses the two figures. It is not powerful, but soft and gentle. Then the light falls away like bejeweled chiffon and disappears into nothingness.
The scene has changed. The man stills appears the same, his image still partially vague. It is the young girl whom time has marked. She has transformed into a graceful, young maid. Her slight frame is now clothed in a silvery white gown whose skirt flows freely and fully to the floor. Her hair is swept up into a twist, clasped to her head by gem-set pins. Her forms still possess the wistful, fey like quality of her youth.
The dance has blossomed into its true form. No longer inhibited by the gawkiness of childhood, the girl glides over the tiled floor like the swan she has become.
Then a more peculiar event occurs. The scene before me crystallizes. The figures are still twirling, ever dancing. The young woman still displays the smile of utter adoration for the man. But the dancersí motions have become less fluid. Their motions more stiff. Their luster more like a doll, expression without emotion. Their clothes freeze in motion.
It is no longer the same dream. The dancers are no more than figurines dancing across the marble floor of a gilded music box. There turning slows and begins to cease. As the performance ends, the absence of another entity is noted, the slow tinkering music box tune whose presence is only noticed once it is no more.
What is the vision, the reoccurring image playing in my mind? Is it the wisps of a fairy-dream? Is it a window into a darker, deeper part of the soul? Perhaps it is simply a symbol of the too swiftly fleeing time of childhood that lives on, preserved in memory like the figures in the music box, before they too cease to be. Perhaps it is nothing at all.