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Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Part Three Chapter 10

Complexity in quietude, hushed sophistication; sublime understatement, emotion at midnight: So this is tenderness with a steely touch, this is chiselled grace; this is music for late-night lovers, a language not debased. Your body against mine in the plush booth expands my breath and pulse; while my lips delight in your earlobe, my hand pays homage to your heart. Who is the man combining formal beauty with lyrical virtuosity, inwardness with rhythmic propulsion? To your cool red lips you bring the grassy rye of your Manhattan.

̶  I was given to sudden outbursts, I couldn’t clarify my feelings. I’d become full of suspicion, frustrated at my inability to communicate.

In the back of the bar, in the subdued light, you explain how your performing onstage counterbalances your vulnerability off it: In the spotlight, there you feel free.

̶  I would try to distance myself, and sometimes it worked.

Faithful to your inner promptings, true to your desires against the world’s demands, you tried to solve the riddle of being without losing connection.

̶  I’ve never been able to conform to the requirements of social life.

Spartan left hand, free-form right; cool, meditative, other-worldly: Who is the man whose lush searching never loses sight of harmonic motion? Who is the man who dances through intricate structure, inventing in the fire?

̶  And then there’s all the horrors of the world!

Maraschino cherry, bitters and sweet vermouth: I sip my Manhattan.

̶ The world will never work in harmony, Sprague. I’m certain of that. People simply can’t pull it off.

Orange-pink and pale vermilion, your drink against black and white; ash-blonde and Venetian, your hair in shadow and light.

̶̶  That’s why, in everything I do, I want a beginning and an end. It’s my way of making sure I’ll have nothing to reproach myself with, that I haven’t been complacent.
̶  A beginning and an end—we don’t always choose them, Marietta.
̶  That’s exactly my point! I want to assume my responsibility, not just drift in and out of things.
̶  You demand a lot of yourself.
̶  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t go on. Why bother? Anyway, the world we’ve made is doomed.

You sip your drinking man’s drink. The whisky seems to have gone to your head—why this sudden access of gloom?

̶̶̶̶̶  Music is one way I test myself, to see if I’m still in touch. And that’s why, in performance, I come across as I do.

Your fingertips clear the mist on your glass; you take your cherry by the stem and swing it into your mouth. Who is the man whose sonorous fifths exude silence, who is the man who is running to stand still? Rubalcaba. Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Was it his immersion in the moment that made you nostalgic for the stage? Was it his sensitivity that conducted you to yourself? What do you say, Marietta? Was it his quest for discovery that made you come out of hiding, was it his contained emotion that made you reveal yourself? And was it his taking himself perhaps a little too seriously that made you do the same? Did you realize it, and is that why you then did what you did? Remember? Sculpting my lips with your lower jaw, working your lips and tongue, you coaxed the cherry out of your mouth and into mine while your fingers, deft in touch, prepared my cock for the place the cherry had been expelled from. Aye, was it for that you did this?

Mara Marietta