The Bistro was filled with the sound of jazz music, smell of fresh wine pouring in, merging with the various mystifying essence of flowers used for decorating the ambience made the atmosphere euphoric and alive, and in the midst of this Bianca was singing softly making the guests of the night dancing to her tune. She was singing a soft romantic song and the young couples were enjoying it very much, slowly moving their young bodies. The young girls appeared lost in the warmth and comfort of their partners as they moved slowly in a foxtrot. This went on till late in the night and when every guest was gone, Bianca was left alone with the band. The band was not her own, the members accompanied her playing music as she sang. She was just an employee in the Hotel, hired for singing and entertaining the guests. She started packing her stuff, took her share for the night from the Manager and started for her abode.
Bianca was a woman in her mid-thirties; she was a strong woman and has been able to survive in the city because of her singing. She was tall, fair skinned and had a good sense of fashion, she kept herself prettily dressed up, yet with certain decency to keep herself safe from the vultures of the night who came uninvited for her profession, that of a Night Singer in a Five star hotel. Every night she sang and came back to her abode which was a lonely place. She didn’t like it here, she always felt better on the stage of the hotel, where she stood for hours singing, surrounded with lots and lots of people who enjoyed their meals there, aided with the free music and entertainment served as complimentary. Bianca knew it well and saw it every day that all the people sitting in the dining hall were least bothered about her presence and were too busy to lend her an ear. Still she sang as it gave her good money. But somewhere deep inside there was always a feeling of hollowness, of being a nobody. She seldom felt as if time has been clogged and she was standing on the verge where things around her were moving fast, but she was caught, lost and already dead in a space she shared with no one.
She sang and sang night after night; being an entity with no existence she often wondered that the music which used to be her passion and her dream one day was now only a mode of making her living. She started so young but today being a middle-aged woman, she longed for company, of a man, someone to share her life with, who would make her the queen and take care of her and she would not have to sing again. She would sing only for him but not for the world anymore, to the world where she doesn’t exist.
Amid these thoughts going in her mind, tonight her eyes suddenly met with a man who was sitting three four tables’ behind diagonally at a table placed in the corner. He was sitting alone, and for the first time Bianca felt that someone was actually taking interest and listening to her. Realizing that she was heard and even ogled by a good looking man a certain spark of excitement and happiness ran through her whole body and she felt somewhat more energetic while singing. She enjoyed the attention and suddenly her voice changed into a more tuneful 'Cuckoo'. She loved this new feeling and to her surprise another thing happened, that man stayed till late, very late, till all guests in the Bristo were gone. He kept drinking and listened Bianca sing.
He seemed a man in his forties but appeared a lot younger than his age. Bianca noticed he had a well maintained masculine frame and a handsome face to fall in love with. The next night Bianca awaited his arrival more anxiously than ever before, her eyes were set on the front door of entrance to the Bistro. And to Bianca’s delight that man came dressed up in a white Tee and in blue denim that fitted his well toned body and made him look much manlier than the previous night. Bianca who had already noticed, was touched by the sudden spark travelling invisibly into the room from him, and came straight to her. She was all charged up for the night. He passed a greeting smile to Bianca and went to his corner table and ordered two bottles of wine. Bianca standing like a corpse and singing jazz a little ago before his arrival soon switched to a peppy number and to her surprise the whole room was electrified and the guests enjoyed more than she had seen them before. Today she received more compliments from the new guests, the regular ones, and from him as well.
The man on the corner table was a true sober, he gave her more than the compliments, he gave her the time she wanted to have, and Bianca was enjoying his presence as she was flirting in between through her songs and gestures. Besides being a music lover and an appreciator he was a true gentleman accompanying her singing and was the last guest on the table. It was time for the Bistro to be closed now as it was past midnight, drunk again, he was requested to leave. But now he was not able to stand properly and was dragging himself with limping legs, the manager asked his boys to help him to his car. Seeing the view and feeling slightly sympathetic to his condition as he was being supported by the waiters to his car; this time Bianca couldn’t control herself and jumped into the scene. She made a gesture with her hand asking the waiters to leave, since she was an old employee there the two boys obeyed with a nod. She took him by his shoulders, giving him support, and together they went with baby steps moving slowly and reached his car. Bianca saw that his was a chauffeur driven Bentley and understood in a split second she was not at all a match for him. She helped him be seated and closed the door, the man was too drunk to even say a ‘Thank you’ to Bianca. She stood there and watched as the engines roared and in no time his car got became invisible from her sight.
That night! Bianca couldn’t sleep a wink; her mind was riding on the wings of fantasy towards a beautiful future. She felt a strange stream of anxiety while remembering the incident of getting the opportunity to hold him and feel his masculine body, she only kept thinking about him. His perfume she smelt on her clothes again and again dreaming of many wild things, smiling unknowingly and soon she realized she was falling for him. After fighting with her thoughts the whole night and with the arrival of the dawn, Bianca made the decision that that night she would express everything, the way she felt about him. She knew it that he liked her more than her, and this gave her much confidence without any fear of getting rejected.
Much awaited the night came. Bianca was dressed in a beautiful white dress with minimal accessories, but a prominent makeup to bring her features more alive. Her entrance in itself became dramatic, tonight she actually made many heads turn and she could see the expressions of envy on the faces of the other women present in the dining hall. She was the angel tonight served with other fineries in the room, there was a bizarre admiration in the people’s expressions, and she was also enjoying this newly acquired attention. She thought in her mind, “If these people are attracted towards me, how much would he be?”
This brought her immense pleasure and excitement both and even a smile that made her look even more beautiful. She began to sing beautiful romantic songs with full enthusiasm as it was her night. Constantly keeping her eyes on the door; she finished singing her third song. She watched that the couples were enjoying her charm of singing and began to feel each other’s love, some young couples came on the floor to dance, while some elderly couples held each other’s hand and looked on to the stage spell-bound towards Bianca. She was different today and apart from the wine and alcohol in the room, love was pouring too in everyone’s heart and soul.
Tonight there seemed some magic in the air and love could be seen flowing along with the soft music in the Bistro. Not showing on her face, however, Bianca was now feeling a bit worried from inside as it was quite late from his usual time of arrival. She took a glance at the clock; it showed 11, 0’ Clock, night was getting deeper and darker, though night has just begun for the love birds present in the room but for Bianca it felt eternity. Music and wine with all the fine cuisines made the ambience rich, and all the guests lost in her singing didn’t care to notice how she felt. By now Bianca’s heart was filled with oceans of tears which weren’t finding their way to flow, her voice now became heavier and deeper. She felt like running away that very moment, but her feet were glued from the platform she stood on, it was the compulsion of her job which became seemed like a curse tonight.
The night ended and all the guests were gone, and he didn’t come. Bianca was alone in the Bistro, standing on the stage motionless, shocked and heartbroken. She ordered a bottle of wine for the first time, and quietly sitting on a table she gulped it all. Usually, Bianca talked to no one in the staff, she did her job, took her money and left. She always remained standoffish and never allowed anyone to come closer to her. She never stayed a second more after her performance was over, but tonight she was drinking and tears rolled down from her cheeks. This strange behaviour of hers’ grabbed the attention of the Manager Mr. Golmes who was not a very friendly man, yet he asked, “Lady, you alright there?”
“I am alright Mr. Golmes, just feeling unwell for not existing in this world,” replied Bianca rather dramatically.
Mr. Golmes a man in his fifties, short and pot-bellied with less understanding for emotions and people didn’t understand the meaning of what Bianca said or perhaps he did. He said, “Bianca, I don’t know what is wrong, but still I will give you a word of advice. Here we are just puppets bind with the ropes of superiority and are seen as that only. We can move but on purpose, people come and go they don’t want to find the real emotions and faces behind our glamour. They come here to enjoy their dining and their moments which we give them but still it becomes theirs’, with all that we serve here. They enjoy themselves and not us they are never bothered to know the story of our hard work included in it. Don’t expect anything from them, not compliments, not attention, not praising, and most importantly not love.”
Bianca looked at him, with tears full in her eyes. She stood and quietly took her share for the night. She was about to leave when Mr. Golmes called her and said, ‘’Hey....Bianca, you look beautiful tonight and you sang really well.”
A smile ran through Bianca’s face, she looked even more beautiful. She muttered softly, “Thank you Mr. Golmes,” and she left for home.
Bianca came the next night with all her grace and charm and sang again for the guests present in the Bristo. He never came after that night, the night while supporting him, Bianca silently gave away her heart to him. Perhaps she has understood the truth that he was just a passing cloud who came and went sitting on the wind of time. Her eyes were not wet anymore, she sings for the world, but her world still remains hollow. No one ever came to know about her silent admiration, it remained as silent forever. She continues to sing, somewhere still silently waiting for him, or for someone who will break her free from this cage of some day.