They’re calling incessantly but I refuse to go out there. No promise of worldwide renown or scads of money has any chance of enticing me to get up from this make-up table and to attempt to stand on a pair of shaky, rubber-feeling legs. And even if I could, even if the aforementioned ante were upped to include, say, the greatest love I’ve ever known, or guaranteed good health, if that were possible, I would not leave the comfort of these four walls and the space within them, as meager as it is.
I hear the resolute footsteps of the director coming down the hall to my room. He knocks on the door gently and speaks through it gently but the truth of his voice is raging water behind a crumbling dam. He speaks in the high, ingratiatory voice reserved for the young and the infirm. He reminds me of all the time I spent practicing my dance steps, how splendidly I dance, and how many people are in the audience waiting for the next act, which is mine, by the way, in case I’d forgotten, and if I don’t get my gutless ass out there, I’ll have blown my chances for all goddamned time!
I feel bad about the broken dam, about the fidgeting, irritable audience. My dream of greatness lies like cold air sinking around the potshards that used to contain it. I feel bad about that, too. I feel bad about the inconvenience I’ve caused, but not about the goddamned time. Time is what it took to understand that I’m not really invested in an outcome, but in the savoring of unhindered, uninterrupted, dreamy, floating, mesmerizing time. That’s my style. The lights around the mirror, the liners and shadows, the pens and paper, and the moments at hand in which to relish them all, are more precious than anything else at all.
The top photo is me in high school prepping for my role as Amy Spettigue in the musical “Where’s Charley?”
The photo directly above is a scene from the musical – Charley impersonating his aunt and enjoying every minute of it with Amy and Kitty.
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