I Remember


The auctioneer's shout shot through the dusty air and the dim light of the dilapidated Opera House.
The old woman that had her face hidden behind a black veil flinched as though she had been hit. Not only was her mind being flooded with painful memories since she had set foot inside the Opera, but she had always had a strong aversion for yelling.
The next object, a poster from 'Hannibal' , combined these two things in a most macabre way.

She let her mind wander back to a time when the stage had not served as a podium for an overweighed auctioneer, when the red velvet seats had still gleamed in splendour, along with the golden figures and the countless candles.
She remembered the buzzing life both onto the stage and behind it. She remembered the divas she had seen during her many years at this place, with their airs and graces, the stage workers who had often got way too close to her ballet girls and suffered the consequences in form of a very displeased ballet mistress. Not many of them had tried twice.

She thought of how she had trained her girls for countless plays, and how often the results had been disappointing. None of the girls had been willing to make sacrifices for success, not one had ever wanted to actually risk bleeding feet. All they had thought about was giggling and having a nice time. Not even her own daughter had been an exception.
With pain she remembered the incidents that had led to the Opera's downfall. She clearly recalled the terrible feeling of helplessness that had threatened to drown her back then.

As if her thoughts had awakened the demons of the past, she suddenly noticed the old man in the wheeled chair and acknowledged his presence with a slight nod before turning her attention towards the next object to be sold.
Again, she had to fight to maintain her composure, to hide the sadness and despair she had felt as she watched her past being sold to the highest bidder. She had not been here for many years, but when she had heard of the auction, she had somehow felt obliged to come and bid the place a final farewell.

The monkey … words could not say what this monkey had once meant to her. Without thinking she raised her hand to bid for it. She was determined to save at least one part of her past.
But then she met the face of the old man. His eyes were pleading. Against her will, she felt her heart melt with compassion. She quietly shook her head when she was asked to bid again.

The joy in his face as he received the monkey was beyond words. At that moment she realised that together with this monkey she had given up the Opera and her whole past. Once again, her mind raced back to bleeding feet, to raving applause, to whirls of colours and breathtaking illusions.

Then, it was over.

It was all over. She was no longer a ballerina, nor was she a ballet mistress any more. She had already turned to leave her past for good when she heard the next object being announced, and she stopped dead in her tracks.

She had been wrong. It was not over yet.

Next for sale was the chandelier.