First Movement: Hadriana in All my Dreams

Slide 1

I died on the evening of the most beautiful day of my life: I died the evening of my wedding at the Church of Saint-Philippe-et-Saint-Jacques. Everybody thought I was struck by the sacramental YES that burst from deep inside. My acquiescence had been so strong and convincing that everyone said my passion carried me off. I was presumed to have been struck by a lightning bold of determination to marry.

Slide 2

To tell the truth, my apparent death began a half-hour before my outcry, in the instant before the departure of the wedding procession from the house. I was ready to leave. I had glanced one last time at the living room mirror: “Go, Hadriana!” said a voice inside, from the Caribbean side.

Slide 3

During my happy life as a girl, there had always been three spaces- the inward garden, the exterior courtyard, and the Caribbean side. It was very warm in all of them.

Slide 4

In the midst of the ­affectionate chatter of my maids of honor at the foot of the stairs, I proclaimed my thirst aloud. I would really like a glass of ice water.” […] Had someone foreseen my last-minute thirst?

Slide 5

Arms lifted me from the floor of the Church. Whose were they? ­ The man had a difficult time making his way through the crowd of people. My dangling feet struck bodies as we passed. A hand grabbed my right foot and squeezed it for some time. I felt the cool evening air in spite of the mask glued to my face. The bells pealed out full volume along with the cries and the applause, as they had when we left the house. The person carrying me began to run. Many people were running alongside. I still could not see. The only sense still working was my hearing.

Slide 6

A woman’s voice yelled: “Long live the newlyweds”. Carnival began immediately on the square. I realized that I could smile and even laugh in the midst of my misfortune. I laughed like crazy for the first time that night: they were dancing the rabòday around me while the drums and the conch shells went wild. The man carrying me seemed to be dancing as well. My stiff limbs could not take up the rhythms. As the stranger passed over the threshold of the villa, my sense of smell came back to me suddenly. I could smell the freshly waxed floor from my childhood days. The man put me down carefully on one of the living room carpets.

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