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At Long Last, Dreams Realized

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Simon Boccanegra cannot sleep tonight. How could he, when the last not even twenty-four hours have changed his life forever?

 

After twenty-five years, he has at long last found his daughter. And to think, he sighs sadly, shaking his head, she had been mere miles from Genoa the entire time, right under my nose! And to think that Fiesco had been raising his own granddaughter for the past twenty-five years and had never realized it was her!

 

No matter. He now has both Amelia and Fiesco within reach, something he never dreamed could happen again.

 

Dreams, so many dreams, dreams with which Simon has filled so many sleepless hours trying to keep up hope that perhaps his daughter was still alive and perhaps he would find her one day. And now they have come true.

 

But still, more dreams come, dreams for the future now that happiness is so near for all of them.

 

He hears the cries of the rebels arming in the streets outside. No, no, let us not use violence. I would much rather let there be peace...and dreams.

 

After all, Gabriele Adorno has promised to fight and vanquish the rebels for him, and in exchange, be allowed Amelia’s hand in marriage. They love each other, Simon knows that, and even though he personally does not understand why Amelia would fall in love with someone so impulsive and wild and a little whiny, he does understand true love: to fulfill it is the ultimate dream.

 

He found true love once, with someone he shouldn’t have, and it was what led to all this. 

 

Never, ever let it happen again. Let her be happy.

 

Because he cannot sleep, he goes to his easel. Over the years, he has taken to painting as a way to relieve stress and try to turn his focus away from the dreams that haunted him every day. He has mostly painted his first-ever love, the sea, although he has occasionally painted other things. He even once painted his infant daughter several years after she had disappeared, but after that sleepless night, he was unable to bear looking at it, so he took it and threw it into the sea, letting the tide carry it away beyond the horizon.

 

The one person he has never painted, not even twenty-five years later, is Maria. He still cannot bear that. He believes himself guilty in Maria’s ruin and death, and he is ashamed, but even more than that, he knows he can never bring her back to life and let her live by his side. How happy they would have been! 

 

The canvas he is working on was done, a painting of the shore and the sea at sunset on a summer evening. The sky is all golden, the waves a shining teal crowned in white foam lapping the sandy shores. It is beautiful, and Simon is proud of it.

 

But there is something missing now.

 

Simon dips his brush in and begins to work. He’s done so much painting that by now, he can simply paint in figures, not even have to draw them. So he paints his daughter in, walking along the shore towards the viewer, but with her face out to the sea. She inherited her love for the sea from me, he muses. Her blue dress only serves to confirm that, as does her hair, waves of long dark brown hair flying in the Ligurian breeze. And of course, he paints her smiling, happy. Be happy all your days, Amelia. That is my greatest hope, wish, and prayer for you.

 

Next, he paints himself looking as he did the previous morning, when he first saw her: approaching from the other side of the beach, watching her pensively, not realizing this would be the moment that would change everything. It could be a painting of us right before we reunite...and maybe I could do another of us at the moment we realize... Before he knows it, it is finished. 

 

He steps back, surveys it. No, something still feels missing.

 

He goes back to the easel. What could I have missed? Wait, he suddenly realizes, I need Fiesco in there, because Fiesco loves her too and the two of us can finally have peace...

 

He paints in Fiesco, his proud, tall stature and his long beard, refusing to give him his customary black mourning clothes- he is perpetually in mourning, but shall be no longer- and putting him next to himself. Fiesco, smiling through tears, gazing at his granddaughter, one hand on Simon’s shoulder, a sign of forgiveness after twenty-five years of hatred. Another dream at last fulfilled.

 

And yet there’s something still missing. Ah yes, Gabriele.

 

Simon struggles for a moment to figure out the right place to put him. He feels tired, which isn’t unusual, although with all the excitement there’s not really much he can do about it; he feels almost like he cannot think, which is unusual. He feels off somehow, but decides to pay no heed. It will pass. Tomorrow morning will come, and his happiness will begin.

 

However, he comes to the conclusion that he cannot put Gabriele anywhere but next to Amelia. They love each other! He paints Gabriele smiling as well, one arm around Amelia’s shoulders, smiling both at her and at the sea.

 

Let her go to the sea as often as she wishes, Gabriele; it’s in her heart and in her blood...

 

Another dream fulfilled, for his daughter to find true love and happiness. Simon emphasizes both; he found the former but not the latter. He wants her to have better.

 

One last dream waiting to be fulfilled. But it can never be.

 

His dream is that Maria would still be here. His dream is that she could see their daughter again with her own two eyes, and embrace her, and be there for her wedding.

 

But it can never be. She will never come back to life. Simon cannot bring her back to life, to earth, not even on canvas. To try to do so would be delirium. And he still cannot bear to paint her.

 

He begins to weep.

 

His tears blend the paint together, bring Amelia and Gabriele closer together, Simon and Fiesco together- how much the two of them have wept for her over the years!- sky and sea and land together, until he can no longer recognize the difference between them all, until the colors blend to the point where it almost looks like a mirage, like happiness waiting within reach only to be cruelly pulled away by forces beyond control. As how it was twenty-five years ago.

 

But the tears also bring a sort of light to everything, he sees, and he takes up his paints again, adding a little more gold to the clouds, the shore, the wave crests, Amelia’s face. 

 

Let there be light. Let it shine everywhere.

 

The light is Maria’s spirit, touching all those she loves, bringing goodness to everyone and everything. This is how Simon knows and loves her; this too is what he sees in Amelia.

 

Keep that brave, good, loving spirit...you got that especially from your mother.

 

He steps back again, still weeping, and lets the painting dry.

 

By the time it does, it is almost morning, and Simon feels ready to pass out. His stomach feels incredibly strange, and the tired, off feeling is even more intense now.

 

He shrugs it off, though. It is just me trying to handle everything changing and my dreams finally coming into reach.

 

He takes a piece of charcoal, signs the back, and titles it: At Long Last, Dreams Realized.

 

It will occupy the best place in his personal gallery, he decides. It will shine there for years to come as it gazes down on all the dreams he has had coming to life.

 

And he is happy.