the etiquette of abandonment

When I was a little lass
And so me mother told me…

That it was bad form and venial sin to disert things one had given their word for. A promise’s a promise. Of course, this was my mum’s stakanovist take of life, which I twisted into the more moderate: stick with things you have given your word for, unless highly damaging to your body ‘n’ soul, in which case do taketh your leave giving grateful notice. Which scraps slightly the biblical idea of covenant to give way to legal endnotes, all for the perfectly reasonable aim of keeping the pace with times.

And then it started happening. I joined dancing classes, and one day one dancer stopped showing their face at the lesson. Joined a choir, and two altos vanished into thin air. Joined a band, and one day there was no percussionist any longer. Nobody had heard anything, nobody knew anything, nobody noticed. Which is even more terrifying than a mafia homicide, because there at least you usually have towns or at least a street of people screaming and beating their chests. But here? No. People just stopped being present, and that was all I had.

After months wondering about horrifyfering outcomes (the dancer with her legs broken and tied around her neck, the rasta percussionist kidnapped by narcotrafficants, the two altos escaped together to Argentina and killed by an infuriated toro), I happened to met the dancer in a cafe on High Street. As it turned out, my imagination is fervid , as she had simply got bored and decided to take Ayurveda microbiotic cooking classes instead. A little bit of proactive e-investigation also revealed breaking news: all were alive, percussionist, altos, all alive and kicking.

All of this came to me as a gigantic wave of relief, as I realised that there are less psychokillers and narcotrafficants around than I’d have expected. I still miss the two altos, the percussionist, and even the dancer (who was not my favourite dancer, it must be said), or better, I dread the empty spaces which were left full of silence. So I have learnt to sing to those spaces, because if life is a stage where roles keep changing and disappearing and reappearing, at least I’m gonna be in a bloody musical!

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