By Eva Hoffman
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It was one of those evenings when the adrenaline coursing through her veins worked to stoke all her deeper energies, rather than inhibit them. There was an atmosphere of excitement in the auditorium. Afterward, she was almost painfully excited herself; she might as well have been on cocaine. When Peter came into the Green Room, she expected—well, what? A matching excitement, she now supposes, a glow, a heightened alacrity. But of course, it was not he who had just given a concert, not he who felt the effects of extra electricity in his body.
But of course, it was not he who had just given a concert, not he who felt the effects of extra electricity in his body. He came up to her and held her against the satisfyingly large expanse of his chest, looking at her from under his already somewhat craggy eyebrows with equable approval. “Well, kiddo,” he said, “you were just excellent. ” And then he moved away to make room for the rest of the well-wishers who were lining up behind him. He left before the end of the celebratory dinner, because he had an early class to teach.
It’s like being on a hallucinatory drug, or drunk among sober people. She thinks she’ll sit down and have a coffee, then changes her mind. She’s beginning to feel a familiar desolation coming on, the arid ghost of the performance. She has been in plenitude, and has been rapidly ejected and she feels she’s walking through deoxygenated air. Her breath, emerging from its depths, is short and narrow. She’ll call Peter, even though it isn’t completely fair. She no longer has the right to assume he’ll be there, or will want to talk to her, or help her through her descent from intoxication.