I know you...

>> Tuesday, October 4, 2005

In the spring of 1985 I was living in a small town in Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati and about 35 miles northwest of Maysville, where I taught music in a Catholic School. My husband pastored a small church in Powersville, Kentucky and commuted to seminary in Louisville. I became quite involved in the Maysville community theater and sang in the Maysville Community Choir. It was through my involvement with the theater that I landed the music teaching job at the school, and I met several people in the community who got me involved with the music and theatrical life in Maysville and the surrounding areas.

One of the classes that I taught at the Catholic School was 9th grade music appreciation. It was actually my favorite class to teach and I loved to find creative and fun ways to get the students interested in learning about classical music and composers. When I learned that the Milos Forman film, "Amadeus" was showing in a theater in Cincinnati, I decided to take my 9th grade music appreciation class on a field trip to see it. I had never seen the film myself–only read the play–and I thought it might be a fun outing for the entire class. I got some parents together to go as sponsors and we decided that after the movie we would take the kids out to a local pizza place.

On the day before we went to see the film, I explained to the class that it wasn't historically accurate, but that it was a story about jealousy and rivalry, told in the context of Mozart and Salieri. I asked the kids to watch for the things that weren't accurate and we'd discuss them the following Monday in class. I went armed with pencil and notebook so that I could write everything that I found to be historically inaccurate down, so that I wouldn't forget anything over the weekend.

As we were seated, I opened my notebook and laid it on my lap, readying myself to spend a lot of time writing. I found the film to be mesmerizing despite the obvious inaccuracies. The costumes and settings were gorgeous and the characters as well as the storyline were extremely engaging. I got so lost in my enjoyment of the film, that I forgot all about my notebook. And then it happened–the scene where Mozart (Tom Hulce) was rehearsing the opening scene of Figaro with the singers who played Susanna and Figaro. He sat at a fortepiano and played and conducted their entrances, and as I watched, I began to hear myself think, " I know you.. We're in love but we can't tell anyone. We have to keep it quiet. You can't let anyone know that you love me." And then when I saw the face of the actress who played Nancy Storace, without any hesitation I thought to myself, "That girl doesn't look like me at all! They didn't do a very good job of casting her!" The thoughts were so instantaneous and so automatic that they left me stunned. I couldn't believe what had just run through my head. I tried to dismiss them as random silliness, but the thoughts wouldn't leave. Near the end of the movie, during the scene where Mozart lay in bed dying, I thought to myself, "Someone needs to brush his hair! He loves having his hair brushed! It's comforting to him!" Hot tears welled up in my eyes and I found myself angry because Constanze wasn't there to comfort him–she wasn't there to brush his hair for him! My emotions were powerful and very real, and again, I tried to dismiss them but the more I tried to dismiss them the stronger they became.

When we left the theater, I could hardly speak. One of the parents who came as a sponsor approached me and said that I appeared pale and asked if I felt all right. I told her that I was fine, that I was just a little tired and tried to assure her that I would be okay. Later that night, as I slipped into bed next to my husband, who lay sleeping, I thought to myself, "I should have waited. I made a mistake. The one I'm supposed to be with is still out there. I'm not with the right one," and I buried my face in my pillow and wept silently.

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