She was always there. Sometimes she was more noticeable. Other times she seemed to blend in with the hotel lobby wall. Her chair faced away from the street and the park. Instead, it pointed toward the elevator.
From time to time she would make a sound. It was always the same sound. Somewhere between the watery cry of a dove and speech. It sounded like "Brul."
The hotel workers paid little attention to her. The only explanation ever offered came from the man in the cowboy hat. He pointed his finger to his forehead, made a circular motion, and slightly shrugged his shoulders.
One day, I heard a brief, unmistakeable cry. I turned and there she was, this white haired lady, walking in half-oblivion. As always, she said "Brul".
Later I learned what this sound meant. It was the name of her dead husband.
Performance is often accompanied by sadness. This unhappiness is of two kinds. An immediate sense of loss, and a later feeling of emptiness.
The sense of loss is bittersweet. One misses the energy of preparation, and the moment of performing. Friends may voice their appreciation, but one is glad it is over.
The later feeling of emptiness is more simple. One has no ideas, and it seems one will never have ideas again. From concentration, one has fallen to powerlessness.
There is no immediate cure for this condition. One can start a new piece, which may be a pale imitation. Or one can try the everyday world, which may be without interest.
Somehow time passes. And then it happens. An image, an idea. Again, there is fragrance.