Casta Diva
by Elizabeth Varadan

The spotlight splashes her raised face and outstretched hands: Norma. She sings to the moon—Casta Diva. Our Lady.

The tremolo. The veil of sorrow. The throb of personal meaning behind each pure tone, her heart etched into the musical score, the inked notes so many stabs of pain and loss. Her singing holds the audience, the conductor, the chorus breathless and unmoving under a spell of night.

Chanters echo the druid priestess. Never has the staged night seemed so real, the hill so deserted, the moonlight at once so hopeful and tragic. Outside, the real moon is full, ringed by clouds, glistening in pale beauty before the storm breaks and people in the theater re-enter their lives.

The singer? The opera ends. Her story begins anew: The divorce will become final; her lover will betray her; her children denounce her. She will have a penniless old age. Looking back, she will imagine this the most comforting night of her life, when the music, at least, was under her control.

Elizabeth Varadan is a retired teacher who lives in Sacramento, California with her husband and their loveable mutt, Cezar. She has had flash fiction published in The Rockford Review, Word Riot, and Flash Me Magazine. "The Scream", was published in Long Story Short, August, 2004, and "Sapphire", another flash fiction, will be published in Whim’s Place, January, 2005. Her short story, "Dragons", won honorable mention at the Jack London 9th Annual Writers Conference, 1997. Another short story, "Seeing Clearly", was published in the June, 2004 issue of Epiphany. Contact Elizabeth.