I’ve had a hankering to listen to Rachmaninoff in concert for a while now. I realize this statement easily qualifies me as the nerd that I am, but as I’m sure you’ve figured out at this point, I figure I may as well own all of my quirks. The love I feel for this Russian’s work is real love, and I can’t deny it. I had been listening to his compositions religiously for the past few weeks, so I finally caved in and googled “Rachmaninoff Seattle” to see if anything was happening in the near future. Lucky me, there was a Rachmaninoff piano concert happening on Valentine’s Day that also featured some Chopin, another of my favorites.
I’m not a proponent of going out on Valentine’s Day, simply because of the headache it seems to be everywhere. I would normally try to reach out to some friends to see if anyone would want to join me for a night at Benaroya Hall, one of the coolest symphony halls I’ve been to in a while, but seeing as I naturally assume everyone has Valentine’s Day plans, I figured I’d mosey in solo, weird as that may look on this particular day.
I was on the fence about buying tickets for days. Why did this have to fall on a day of the year focusing specifically on couples? I figured I’d suck it up and buy myself a ticket. What better way to spend Valentine’s Day with two of my favorite men: Rachmaninoff and Chopin.
I awoke with a start at 5am Valentine’s morning. I wondered why I felt so unsettled, but then I realized that my phone was buzzing. I reached over to receive a slew of text messages from a friend of mine who is currently traveling in Columbia. Being the panicky, over reactor that I am, I instantly assumed something terrible must have happened. I put on my glasses and read:
“Just had the most vivid, lifelike dream that some guy killed you at a place called bell bridge. Woke up crying. DO NOT GO TO A PLACE CALLED BELL BRIDGE.”
I reassured my friend that I was, in fact, still alive. I figured I’d be more likely to say something offensive that would cause a rift in our friendship that would cause her to never speak to me again before I’d end up murdered in Seattle. And this is a friend who gets offended by nothing.
After making due diligence to confirm my status as “living,” I turned back over and went to sleep without thinking twice about it. It was a dream, not a prophecy. If my dreams were real, there would be monkeys running around killing people and I would have a second job talking to dead people.
Something felt weird the next day as I got ready. It’s a little weird to be told about your death, silly as it may be. I shrugged it off and got ready to satiate my craving for some Russian composition.
I sat on the bus, sifting through the news…is what I would say if I was a classy lady. But actually I was on Facebook, sifting through my newsfeed, judging everyone else’s lame Valentine’s Day celebrations compared to mine. I can’t stress enough how much I was nerding out about this concert. That’s when I heard the bus announce a stop at Bell Street, and I got chills.
I knew there was a Bell Street, but I didn’t really piece it together with my death sentence until that moment. I quickly resorted to googling, “Bell Bridge Seattle,” and instantly regretted it. I threw up a little in my mouth when I discovered that there actually exists a Bell Street pedestrian bridge less than a mile from where I was headed.
I quickly looked around the bus, trying to decipher who was most likely to drag me off the bus and murder me. I had enough adrenaline going that I figured I could put up a little bit of a fight. I put my money on the guy with gauges in his ears so large that I could easily slide my keys through it without a problem. I was horrified when nearly everyone got off of the bus on the Bell Street stop, leaving me on the bus with three other people, one of which was the man I had assumed would be my killer.
I was two stops away and was downtown with some heavy foot traffic, so I felt like I was safe enough to throw a bitch fit and draw some attention if need be. I told myself to calm the fuck down, acknowledge that this fear was irrational and childish, and get ready to get off of the bus.
I got off at my stop, and Gauge Guy got up and looked me dead in the eyes, motioning for me to exit the bus before him. Honestly, any other day I would have been taken aback by the fact that he was being a gentleman, not something that happens very often out here. It very much seems to be survival of the fittest trumps chivalry in most situations. It was something that he probably intended to be incredibly polite, and I stared at him, horror stricken, with all of the blood draining from my face.
I descended from the bus and darted into the concert hall, glancing behind me to make sure I wasn’t followed. I grabbed my tickets, found a seat, and calmed down, putting it all out of my mind. My deep feelings for the Russian ran deep, so I would be damned if I let something ruin it for me.
I was not disappointed. There’s a vulnerability to Rachmaninoff that I love. He knows how to utilize a piano fully, and it makes me feel emotions that can’t even be put into words. In my mind, that is what true art does: it moves you in ways you can’t describe. It was fitting that for Valentine’s I could spend some time with the man who causes me to feel some sort of emotion in my typically cold heart.
The whole concert was magical. I walked back to the bus stop, no longer concerned about my imminent murder, but completely at peace. That’s the thing about great music though. It has a way of tapping into the deepest parts of your being in a way that words alone can’t do. Again, I digress as my nerd self. But needless to say, it was a perfect Valentines evening with my favorite Russian. You know it’s been good when you forget all about your own murder on the Bell Bridge.