I fill her dreams with music. Violins shimmer above a velvety clarinet and throaty flute. The two woodwinds pulsate and throb with longing, finally opening into an English horn of unbearable sweetness. The cellos bring warmth to each lingering echo.

I watch her closely. She awakens, throws back the covers in excitement, reaches for the staff paper and pencil she keeps by her bed. She switches on the bedside lamp and begins to furiously write down what she is hearing. All her years of training and her passion for music have led to this sublime moment.

She’s the one. Amanda.

When I was a young girl, I took my compositions to teachers who simply scoffed, without even looking at them. “Women can’t be composers, Anna,” I heard everywhere. In the end, I chose an early death, to write my music on a different plane. For centuries now, I’ve scoured the planet for a woman who can bring that music to life. I haunted the finest music schools, sat in on lessons and performances, narrowed my field of candidates to a select few.

Tonight, I have found the right woman.

Amanda is determined to be a successful conductor in a world still dominated by men. Next month she will audition for Principal Conductor of a new, very promising orchestra. Over the course of three long afternoons, she will conduct rehearsals of Beethoven, Ravel and Stravinsky.  On the fourth and final afternoon, she will introduce the performers to a newly-composed piece of her choosing. I can tell that the piece she is now hearing will be the centerpiece of that fourth afternoon.

I’m transfixed, imagining my music finally being played by living, breathing human beings.

And now Amanda has finished the transcription. I whisper the title in her ear as she draws the final double bar line.

“Only a woman could have written this,” she says, searching the dark corners for any sight of me. “I don’t know who or what you are, but this music is miraculous.”

I feel something I’ve never felt before. I think it’s called happiness.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 month ago

A lovely story, Julie. I could do with someone whispering the perfect story in my ear whilst I’m asleep; there must be someone beyond the veil with an awesome tale to tell! Nicely done 🙂

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

Lovely and powerful tale. But I am intrigued by that miraculous music. I wish to listen to it and get lost in happiness. Well done. 

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Julie Harris
1 month ago

I love that. I can’t wait.

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
1 month ago

Loved it and felt echoes of the Phantom of the Opera, where Anna becomes the angel of music for Amanda. Fantastic!

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Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
1 month ago

Wow!, Julie, this is spooky and lovely. I’m happy she found someone who is not afraid to listen to her and carry her dreams.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
1 month ago

What a beautiful story, Julie. That opening paragraph is mesmerising. So sad that, as a young girl, your protagonist’s talents were never recognised in a man’s world. Unfortunately, it isn’t rare. I’ve read of songwriters and authors too who have used male pseudonyms to have their work taken seriously. Excellent writing, as always.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
Reply to  Julie Harris
1 month ago

Oh my goodness, Julie, that is shocking. Were you never able to conduct? Your experience reminds me of when I ran a computer system for an American bank. In 1989 I was elected to Assistant Vice President after working for their London branch for 6 years. A Vice President offered his congratulations, then added ‘if you’d been a man, you would have got that title years ago’. That did dampen my achievement. I agree with you that women are still fighting, we can only hope they win in the end.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
Reply to  Julie Harris
1 month ago

That’s amazing, Julie! I hope there will soon be a return to live performances.

Heather Chrzanowski
Heather Chrzanowski(@heather-chrzanowski)
1 month ago

This was such a unique story! What a fantastic idea. I am curious if something specific inspired you? Very well written. I enjoyed this piece very much.

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