Christine! Oh, how I wish you could've seen it. It was this evening; you were no doubt preparing for the performance. I was there, of course (I never miss a performance, my dear … what else do I have to be proud of? But oh, seeing you is so lovely; it is so very lovely. Ah! Again you have completely enraptured me, and you are not even here. I fear to think what would happen if I had your presence at my side; my brain would be rendered dumbfounded. I jest, love. Your presence at my side would be so much more than a state of anxious irrationality. … Someday I will find words to describe how my heart feels at the thought of you by my side. Such decadence. But on with my story.); I saw your performance, and need I tell you how ravishing you were? But I was graced with a few spare moments before the opera was to begin, so I took a stroll. Not in the streets, mind you, but on a little hidden trail down by the river. Someday I will take you there, Christine.

At twilight, the moment I was there (how lucky I am!), the trees seem to bow to the last blazing rays of sun before night sweeps across the sky with glittering entrails of stars. The water shimmers; it nearly invites you to slip away with it into the deep purple and gold hues. It is hard to resist the pull of something so alluring. All is quiet (for few know of this spot; the earth keeps it out of view; it locks it up in green shrubs and dusty orange leaves.) But oh, it was so beautiful. It was as if everything was silent simply to preserve that instant; even the birds dare not sing for fear of shattering that fleeting moment of harmony. But tonight there was a bird, Christine, and it cried pitifully in defeated anguish as it lay on the ground, tattered and alone. I had not let my gaze wander long to find it; it had fallen near the dirt path (did I blaze that trail myself? I know of no one else who frequents the place), and as I approached I looked up, and amidst the pale green and yellow leaves I spotted the nest that must have been his home. Such a small creature he was! His feathers were white, dirtied only by the sand that had embraced him as he fell to the ground.

I bent down and peered at him intently; childish, I know. He emitted such soft cries; do birds sigh? I reached out a hand, longing to lift him from the cold and brittle dirt, but I hesitated. His small orbs (obsidian beads they were; so very tiny) frantically latched onto my own; I could not read that poor bird's face. Did he desire my help? Did he simply wish to be left alone? Such large thoughts for such a tiny creature. I cursed myself and reached out; I took him into my hands. His feathers were as soft as your hands, Christine, and just as delicate. How extraordinary, I thought, to be holding a baby bird, victim to the very earth that nurtured him. It seemed cruel, and I whispered and sang softly to him. I traced my fingers gently across his feathers, and he stayed; he was warm in my palms. He was but a light weight in my hand, but his small, searching eyes clutched my heart and kept me silent. Something so small; why did he allow me to hold him? Oh, Christine, if only you had been there! Perhaps I only imagined his contentness or the warmth in my palms, but I know I felt a smile reach my lips and I know he heard the soft murmurs I whispered.

I could not remain there forever, for though I was captivated, I had not so soon forgotten your performance, dearest. I rose back to my feet, still cradling my companion close to my chest. Oh, the bonds that can form so quickly, with such fragility. I looked up and again spied his nest; it was within reach; I could return him to his home. I smiled, feeling quite delighted, and enjoying the stars that were beginning to dazzle in the sky. I looked back down, still lulling the small creature in a hushed tone. But he was still; he felt limp in my palm. His eyes remained open, but I already knew that he saw no more. I stood in silence for a moment, feeling the sun drown under the horizon, draining all color and warmth with it. I said a silent prayer, and asked God to give flight to the small bird's soul. I whispered encouragingly to him; I told him all was well. I put him in his nest anyway; I thought he would be safest there. His tangible form, at least. He reminded me of you, Christine. But I watched you on the stage and I reveled in the melody of your voice, and I imagined your hands warm in mine.

Please don't go limp in my palm, Christine. Please don't make me perform an Act of Contrition for you. It's difficult, but I will content myself to watch you from afar, I will not cage you if you swear never to leave me. Grant me your existence, and I will grant you your freedom. Such cruelty, but is it not doused in sugar? You were lovely tonight, Christine. I await your next performance with an unquenchable thirst.