Puccini and Mendelssohn: A Night’s Tale

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I am listening to Puccini's La Bohème because I am getting myself in the mood for a concert I my attending with my friend. We are going to see a choir perform Puccini and Mendelssohn. It is my first time going to this sort of event and I want to know what to expect.

I like Puccini. I feel transported. This is perhaps why I end up going to the venue an hour early. I only realize my mistake when I call my friend and she tells me she is at home and hungry.

'Mais, c'est pas grave', I say to myself. First, because I can't find a satisfying translation of this phrase in English and second, because it really was fine. I would just go to Uni Dufour and work on some French sentences. And so I do, listening to La Bohème as I make my way there. 

Uni Dufour

I had finally found a place to sit and had started to work on my sentences when a woman I now know to be homeless and her dog approached me.

“Do you know how to use these to access the Internet?” she asked, pointing to the stationed computers.

“No, I’m sorry. I don’t.”

“Do you know where I can access the Internet here?”

I shook my head. I didn’t.

“Do you think you could do a search for me on your computer?”

“Yes, sure.”

“Please check if the showers at the station are still open… and the prices.”

“Gare Cornavin?”


After what seemed like an eternity on the train station’s website, we established that the showers were open and we didn’t know the prices. She offered her thanks, asked for the time and we said our goodbyes. I didn't know the station had showers.

It was finally time for the concert. Puccini in my ears, I made my way to the venue. I happen to come across the shower lady and her dog and so I did the smile you do to acknowledge someone you have previously had a brief encounter with.

Perhaps this was a mistake because she called out to me. I had my earphones in and could barely make out her words. I thought she had another question.

“Linda?” she asked.

I shook my head. “No, sorry.”

“Ah I’m sorry, I thought you were my old friend Linda.”

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Victoria Hall

I waited outside for my friend but she was already inside. We talked for a while. I showed her my illustrations.

During the concert, I spent most of my time looking at the nervous trumpet player anxiously waiting for his turn. He wore a jacket that was a bit too tight. I felt bad for him because of how anxious he was.

The music was okay. I didn’t feel transported or anything. When I thought I was going to fall asleep, there was a noise. I thought nothing of it at first. Maybe something had fallen. Then the music stopped. What I thought was a thing was a human being. I was now fully awake.

No matter how far I strained my neck, our free student seats would not let me see what had happened.

So with my friend, I begin to speculate: she thinks it was a heart attack or a stroke but I choose to be optimistic and continue to believe that he has fallen. I don’t know why we both continue to imagine it was a ‘he’ as we never saw the person.

The music continues. We think the man (or woman) has finally received some medical attention. We are not sure.

I start to feel guilty as my thoughts flow with the rhythm of the music. I had spent the whole concert imagining something dramatic happening (like someone falling from the top just as the music reached a crescendo) but not someone having a heart attack or a stroke.

My thoughts end just as the music does. I clap with the others.