I had a little bit of an embarrassing moment on the bus today. See, I have a little problem with music. Sometimes it makes me cry, okay it often makes me cry. Not just because the song is sad. If the singing is beautiful it often moves me to tears no matter what the mood. Case in point – when I went to see Les Miserables, I cried for a solid two hours. I often cry during The Star Spangled Banner, even though I prefer America the Beautiful as a song. I cried when I first heard Rabbit Songs by Hem and it took several times through the album to get to the point where I could listen and not cry. So, I have this problem. Little did I know it applied to singing in books. Until today. While I was on the bus and I found myself dabbing at the corners of my eyes. I usually don’t cry as much in books as in movies etc, because I feel like I have a little more control. Not in this case.
*Spoiler alert for Sarah Dunant’s Sacred Hearts*
In the above mentioned, there is novice, Serefina, who was sent to the convent against her will, because she fell in love with the wrong person. The convent was please to accept Serefina because she has a magnificent singing voice. Serefina rages when she enters the convent and refuses to sing. While she is assigned to Sister Zuana, the resident healer, Serefina witnesses an older nun while she is in a state of “ecstasy.” When the nun comes back around, she clings to Serefina and passes on a message to her. It is the same day as the Feast of St. Agnes, which is the day when Serefina was supposed to make her singing debut. (Churchgoers can hear but not see the nuns when they sing). At the service, even though she has not practiced her part, she sings with the most beautiful voice that the audience is completely transfixed after she stops. They do not want the experience to end. Serefina fought being in the convent so much, that it is hard to believe that she would have done such a thing and in such dramatic a fashion. Was it the spiritual experience beforehand? It felt that way when I was reading it. I felt as caught up in the singing as everyone else in the book. Kudos to Dunant for pulling that off. It was a big risk. It would have been cliche if she had done it any other way. And yet, there is a twist. But, back to the crying and the music. I knew is going to cry even before Serefina started singing and yet I couldn’t stop myself. I even stopped reading, wiped my eyes hoping my mascara wasn’t going to run before I got to work and tried again. No luck. I would have had to stop altogether and I couldn’t. There was no way. I had that buoyant feeling of being carried along by a book, so I cried the rest of the way to my stop – little kids getting off at the mall and all.