A violin plays sweetly just as I walk into the Fulton subway. The sound floats above our heads like an angel touring the grounds, spreading beauty like a cool mist swirling around and through the sweaty pedestrians. It is such a stunning dichotomy to our combined cranky, uncomfortable moods that I am pulled out of my darker thoughts. I drop two dollars into the musician’s case.
As I walk deeper into the cement and tile tunnel, the sound fades. I wonder how that moment would play in a movie or how I’d describe it in prose. But within seconds of leaving the music’s perimeter, it’s lost. I already forgot the feeling. I already missed the shot list in my head.
Suddenly, I hear it again. This time there’s more of a trill to it, like she’s trying a more complex piece. As I get to the bottom of a stairwell, I realize her music isn’t following me, another violinist is here. Now in the pits of the station, the air is thicker with humidity, hot, sticky. But again, the music is light. It grabs the crown of my skull and floats toward the dark recesses of the tunnel’s ceiling.
This moment would be a challenge to duplicate on film. Ugh. So done! I can see the audience leaving the theater. Eyerolls and yawns. It could work in a novel maybe, if you surrounded it with a good story.
But that moment was so pristine! So universal in meaning. So full of symbolism. Why can’t it work? Some would say it’s been done before, but how many would even remember where? And so have most tropes, thus the word “trope” being a word. How are some moments of beauty too difficult to replicate? Why is a novel more forgiving? Or am I wrong? Is this a piece of cake to commit to celluloid? I got a theory, but I’d love to read other theories from better brains than mine (like yours). So say it below.