My friend Kim did a play reading last night. I was too tired to exist but I really wanted to be there. As the actors assembled I thought “Maybe I can just close my eyes for a minute or two…” Then they began and almost immediately I was drawn into the world being created. That’s how life is now. I summon up the energy when I can, knowing I will pay the price but glad to be out there in the world. It was also the second night in a row that a cute guy carried me down a flight of stairs so that alone was worth the effort.
Kim’s play is unflinching in it’s portrayal of the dark shadowy side of motherhood and of being an artist. I almost feel compelled to turn my head away from the painful scenes she offers up. Then these noble and profound moments shine through which make me hear them more because the messenger is flawed. I hope I do that with this blog – show you a flawed and often frivolous person – vain, boy-crazy, reckless – who still has a message to deliver from the other side.
Here’s what Kim’s character “Woman” has to say:
But here’s the sad secret of the living, we’re squanderers. And these gifts? They fade.
For just that one dazzling moment you stand briefly in the threshold between both worlds, pausing in the door frame, and you can see ALL that you have and ALL that you have to lose and then someone jostles you, “excuse me, pardon me, coming through,” and suddenly you’ve crossed over, back to the land of the oblivious. You swore you would never forget! You would never take anything for granted again. But then one day you look up and you think, wouldn’t another trip on the ocean be nice.
Doesn’t that light look pretty sparkling off those waves . . . “If only…”
I love when a play makes me cry. I love when words make me cry. I read Ali’s account of our time at Harbin and I cried just feeling the love that went into taking me up there and handling all the complex logistics of steep stone stairwells, naked helpers and the emotions that inevitably boil up when you know you’re doing something for the last time. I won’t be back to Harbin, this I know.
We laughed and cried so hard – sometimes at the same time. Ali is engaged which is so rewarding since I have seen her through so many bad dates, jerky guys and the sense of hopelessness about finding “the one.” I remember her showing up on my doorstep, face puffy saying “ I have lamb chops and a broken heart. Can I stay here and cook them?” I loved her so much at that moment.
Ali has commented on her blog about the irony of my lack of gray hair ( makes me wonder - will I die before I have to dye?) At Harbin she noted that despite nursing my boobs have held up ( modesty prevents me from quoting her exactly) and then later she said rather emphatically “Oh my god, you have no cellulite” to which I replied “Just another reason I have to DIE!” Most people would have tsk tsked me or just looked pityingly at me for being afflicted not only with ALS but also with a horrible sense of humor. Not Ali. We laughed heartily if painfully. I like making her laugh even though she almost killed me the next day at Lisa’s Bachelorette party which took place at Edith’s house.
One of the women was talking about a drug dealer she had –ahem—been with – ahem -and how she at the time was also a drug dealer and Ali said “Oh so you were colleagues.” I did a colossal spit take, inhaled some of the water and aspirated so dramatically that I couldn’t breathe for what felt like an eternity at which point Kim ( not knowing how bad it was) said “Well this puts a whole new tragic twist on the spit take, doesn’t it?” I thought how cool it would be to go out that way – with a bunch of hilarious women cracking wise. Then I started to cough and we went back to telling scandalous ( and I do mean scandalous) stories.
I had arranged for 4 former students I know from my teaching days to come to the party, do a sexy dance for Lisa and then drop their pants to reveal the words “MAZEL TOV” printed on their butt cheeks. They were all guys in case you’re wondering. Sofia did the honors of magic markering the asses and I did quality control inspections. Once done, Sofia and Theo ( who is – thank God – gay) grabbed me, pulled my pants down and wrote “I love you Lisa” on my ass. I have never in my 45years allowed something like that to happen and I thought “you’ve snogged a complete stranger – how much worse is this really?” So after the guys did their thing, I dropped my pants for Lisa to reveal my true feelings for her to the shock of the young men. “I can do this,” I told them “I’m not your teacher anymore.” To which Nate replied “ I know you can and let me just say, I’ve been dreaming of this moment since my first class with you so I for one would just like to say thank you ALS for making this moment possible.”
I kinda felt the same way.
It’s going to be a busy week. I’m marrying Lisa and Alan ( I’m an internet minister) so there’s a lot to be done before Saturday. Woohoo!