Until Next Time, Dear Intruder—Wyatt Dalton

Business and responsibility: the two things that had been running through my head all night. They were the two things that kept me cooped up in my office way past hours. Honestly, I shouldn’t have even been here, not at this ungodly hour—but business and responsibility kept me much later than they usually did.

It was well past four in the morning by the time I had finished my work. I was asleep on my feet as I left my office and made my way to the front of the theater, thinking I would have to grab some cheap coffee or something for the drive home. I never made it out the door though, because that’s when I first noticed her.

One of the smaller doors near the rear of the main auditorium was slightly ajar, and as I walked passed I heard the faint sound of a violin coming from the darkness within. At first I thought I was just hearing things, because who else would still be here? But the longer I listened the stronger the sound of the violin became and soon convinced me that I indeed wasn’t alone in this old theater.

Normally I would be upset about someone being here so late after hours, but there was something about the way this intruder played their music that was, in a word, enchanting. So, I slipped in to the auditorium as quietly as I could, hoping that my entrance would escape the intruders notice.

I was exhausted, yes—but I was also helpless to resist. The slow, haunting way she had of making her instrument sing had captured me and refused to let go. The voice of her violin so crisp and clear, rising and falling as if it she and it were in such harmony that they even breathed together.

Even the way she controlled the stage—not standing at it’s center to dominate it, but sitting to the side, back against a pillar, one leg hanging lazily over the edge—added to her enchantment. She looked so much like she belonged there, sitting on that stage in this empty theater—well, mostly empty theater. She didn’t need to dominate the stage, it already belonged to her.

All thought of going home was driven far from my mind in those first few moments as every facet of my being was filled with her music; ever facet, that is, except for my eyes. Her face had captured and held the attention of my eyes, just as easily as her music had captured my soul. I couldn’t help myself. Yes, she was very beautiful, but there was so much more to her than that.

Every emotion was at play on her face—elation the same as misery, confusion the same as clarity. Joy and pain joining together to create emotion so raw that at any moment she looked as if she might cry tears of ecstasy or suddenly scream in her agony. And ever her emotions were changing, breathing, rising and falling to compliment the song of the strings.

Oh, if only you were there to experience the journey she took me on. She brought me higher than than I have ever been before and then down to the deepest pits of my misery. I felt weightless with joy and I felt suffocated by more pain than I ever thought I could endure. I was filled with pride like I had just climbed the highest mountain, and emptied completely by overwhelming depression. I experienced the purest of loves, and then the nothingness of heartbreak.

I don’t remember falling asleep, I don’t see how I possibly could that night, but evidently I did. I was woken by the sun shining through the crack that was left in the auditorium door. There was a sharp pain in my neck from sleeping in such an awkward position—it was an old theater, the chairs weren’t too comfortable.

I sat there for a moment, dazed, not understanding why I was still at the theater. The last thing I remembered was being in my office slaving away, business and responsibility running through my mind; but then like a half forgotten dream that slowly comes back to you, I remembered the music—and the intruder.

I stood with a shock and looked for her on the stage, she was gone. I desperately searched around the auditorium from where I stood, but of course, I didn’t find her there either.

Maybe it was a dream after all. I thought. was exhausted last night, perhaps I simply decided not to go home and…

That was about the time that I noticed something peculiar in my jacket pocket: a note that wasn’t there before. Folded and placed in such a way that I would notice it when I stood.

My hands were shaking as I unfolded it and held it up to the light. It read…

“I was rather hoping that you would have enjoyed the show, but it appears that my music has put you to sleep. I’m sorry about that. Maybe next time you can stay awake through the whole thing? The ending tonight was my favorite.”

It was signed, simply, “The Intruder.” Looking back now, it does seem odd that she would take that particular name—the name that I had given to her. But at the time I could only think of one thing. It was the reason behind the stupid smile on my lips as I walked out the front doors of the theater: she said there would be a next time. And next time, dear intruder, I will see your show through to the end.