After traveling to 1988, Batresh sees Denny for the first time
She forgot that piano was the only accompaniment. The stage thrust out into a small auditorium at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church on Park Avenue. It was warm, the last day of June. Her journey since arriving two days earlier, had been stressful. She slept all day at the Priory.
Her ship was parked in Long Island City behind an abandoned warehouse. She hadn’t realized it would be so near the elevated train, just after the first stop in Queens. Queensboro Plaza was frequently crowded and she was afraid of being discovered. Father Paulus assured her the ship would be safe.
This opera, initially performed in 1651, was one of the first ever written. She thought it ironic that the Tayamni only recently liberated the Jovian Moon, and the name of this work was La Calisto.
She felt a twinge of pain in her shoulder from the fall. Reaching up to rub the pulled muscle she remembered his amphibian eyes. He was waiting for her in Times Square subway station. Walking from the N train to 7th Avenue, someone grabbed her arm. She looked quickly and saw a middle-aged man with dark hair. If it hadn’t been for the angle of light, she would not have seen the amphibian lens, reflecting in a flash of yellow. How did they know?
She jerked away and ran, but fell down stairs leading to the platform. She only pulled a muscle and scraped her palms.
She got on a crowded 3 train, pushing her way between two men. Looking around, she saw the man who grabbed her, running down stairs to the platform as the train pulled away.
Gentle chords sounded, and she was brought back to the present. The stage was dark. A singer walked out and placed herself for the next act. As the lights rose, she saw a woman dressed as male, wearing a kilt with a strap extending over her right shoulder. The piano sounded simple chords that would normally be plucked from a lute. The singer looked towards the moon and began to sing, a low rich contralto.
“Let not the music of Thessaly,
“Disturb your orbit,
“or your peace…”
“Wait!” Batresh thought to herself. The singer wore a strap over her right shoulder, exposing her left breast. But, it wasn’t there. She looked for signs of a nude suit. She saw the singer had no breasts, but instead the chest muscles of a young man. “That’s not a woman!” she whispered. She looked at the man sitting next to her, a heavy man, already perspiring in the warm summer night.
He heard her and nodded, showing her his program. She saw on the page, Dennis Sheilds — Endymione. There was his photograph, a little older now, more mature. He would be 31. She looked into the singer’s face, as he compared the moon to the Goddess Diana. The tenderness of his feelings, his emotional state, moved her. He moved his hands with the gracefulness of her Matriarch. She had a moment of recognition, thinking to herself, using the words the New York Times reviewer would use the following day, “… deeply expressive laments, his voice has a sweetness rare among countertenors.”
Looking at Denny’s face, seeing her mother in his movements, distracted her. She didn’t see the flash of amphibian eyes as they turned on her from two seats away.