Amaranta gazed at the opera scene here in the city. She didn’t know what to expect. It wasn’t quite Itoro’s scene, but its own. But she could see the influences, Itoro created opera as they knew it, but every country who took it made it their own.
She was sitting, watching the last few scenes of the opera. It was rather easy for Amaranta, who had attended so many operas in her lifetime. She watched almost everything, this being nothing more than a passion.
The last scene was perhaps a happy ending, marriage and children. Amaranta knew it. The play was rather normal, but many years of watching seasoned her, hence it did not evoke any prominent emotion in her.
There was some novelty, since there was a difference because of the difference in culture,
The curtain closed, people streamed out, leaving only her left.
She got up, in her thickest dress yet, the cold Severian weather was something she underestimated.
“Are you waiting for anyone?” He asked.
“No, just thinking about the play. It’s different from what I’m used to back home.” She came here out of an interest in it, and she doubted her own survival if she did not watch any opera. Even back in Lenzig, she attended the local performance.
He gave a smile. “I guess you’re a far way from home, for Severya has some of the best if you’re in the East. Did you come from Sarponne?”
Amaranta shook her own head. “No, think a little more south. It’s a very famous city.”
“Rovirna, then. There isn’t a famous city south other than Rovirna.”
“There is Salvinople and Antigon. But I guess few would think that this would be worthy of coming here,” she said, with a smile.
“Indeed, pray, what did you think of the play?”
Amarnata knew it. She watched it with intent, despite it not having any interest because she was so new to it. “It’s decent, but there is a novelty in that play when you’re in a foreign land for the first time.”
“I would agree, but I watch for the lead actor.”
“He is rather charming, and he became his character, inhabiting his skin as though it was all he knew.” She couldn’t tell, but for most of the cast, some of them slipped up and showed their true selves.
“Indeed, he is one of the best, he debuted when I was a child, and I watched him until now.”
Now, the man played a stern patriarch who loved his children and wanted the best for them regardless of their choices. He wanted them to be happy far more than successful.
“He was superb.”
“But I liked him, he inhabits the skin. He could play the careful bachelor, and now he reminds me of my father.”
“I wouldn’t know, it’s been a few years since my parents passed. But not quite my granduncle either, he was never stern, more likely to explain to you what you did wrong. .”
“What do you do?” She asked, out of an interest, warning to change the topic.
The man didn’t seem too eager to answer. He was a little tense.
“I’m a merchant.”
He didn’t have any pride in it, not like her brother, who would have shouted it from the rooftops. She knew genuine excitement, and he seemed resigned.
“But not where you would want to be, if you can prefer it,” she said.
“It’s where I was born, and hence, where I should be. My parents hope I can live a quiet life, follow in their footsteps, settle down and become influential in my community. That is perhaps the dream they have for me. Because there is nothing else to dream.”
Amaranta could see that perhaps he didn’t agree with it, or even if he could see their reasoning, it was difficult.
“I can’t comment, or even feel, for neither of my parents were anything but typical. They never told me how to do anything.”
“Are you an actress?” He asked.
“No, I just never felt like I needed it. But it would be a perfectly acceptable job for me to take if I wanted it. I did like acting, but it never beat out my passion for sewing and dressmaking,” Amaranta said.
“That seems like a wonderful gift.”
“One that is more convenient than being blessed with a gift for the stage,” she said. “Do you ever think that you could do this?”
He stopped for the moment. “I could.”
“Then, what is stopping you?”
“Difficulty, it’s always easier to not do so. Even if I make enough as a merchant, soon to inherit my parents’ printing shop, but I don’t suit it. And I perform in the small local performances in my free time, but there isn’t enough inside to make a living.”
Amaranta could see that he was a man who dreamt of more.
“Then, why not do it, perhaps you’ll make a name for yourself? Better than toiling in obscurity as a merchant, if your gift is on the stage.”
The man was deep in thought. “You’re right, I thought about that a lot, but it’s just so difficult to do and my parents’ are getting on in age.”
“Those don’t sound like any reasons. Just think about it, that it may be difficult, but the reward would eventually be worth it.”
He gave a smile. “You’re optimistic.”
“I guess my background made it impossible for me to be anything but hopeful with things like this. But unless you do it, you’ll never know how far you go,” she said. “That’s something my mother told me.”
“She seems like a wise woman. Have you ever done something similar?”
“Not in theatre, but I’ve always liked fashion, and that’s what I’m focusing on instead.” She gave a gracious smile to him. “By the way, I’ve never gotten your name.”
“Just call me Sam,” he said. “Perhaps you’re right, that unless I give it a shot, would I ever know.”
“Then, I’m Amaranta,” she said. “Well, I could tell that you’re not excited about being a merchant. My brother would tell everyone that he meets he is a capitalist, and he is proud of it.”
“Perhaps you’re right that I can find something that suits me.”
“You’ve heard about the revolution?” She asked.
“My father said that in those who had a revolution, we don't experience any loss of rights, we’re equal before the law and there is no scorn with us.”
His father was a revolutionary, that much was clear from the way. Her parents were too.
“Ah, I see, I think the Rancien brand is the more remembered one.” She gave a slight wink. The Itorian was something else.
“I thought it would be Itoro, since Rancie is under an empire.”
“There are just a lot more Itorian merchants here, so it’s the more popular form given that in Itoro, the monarchy is less powerful although as encompassing.”
Amaranta blinked, she truly did not think it would be this. “I guess so, since we’re a new monarchy.”
Amaranta knew who it was, her sister who returned to the theatre. It was time for her to leave.
“It was nice meeting you. Hope we see each other again.”
“It was nice meeting you too and thanking him.”
Then, Amaranta turned, leaving the theatre after an illuminating conversation.