Thursday, October 13, 2011

Someday, this will come back around to me...

We set up the stage Sunday night.  (When I say "we", I mean I held things while other people screwed them together.) 

Last night was final dress rehearsal.
And I had a moment.
A moment all to myself.


I was exhausted during rehearsals a week or two ago.
Who am I kidding?  I was exhausted for all the rehearsals.
Sitting off to the side, trying to stay out of everyone's way, I leaned my head on some boards to rest.

Let me explain that a little better...
This particular theater group has a workshop in an old municipal building where they paint and store scenery, props, and costumes.  The entire place is a storage room.  Furniture is shoved into every corner leaving nothing more than a walkway through rooms.  Props are balanced on all available flat surfaces.  Costumes have their own room; maneuvering through it is like experiencing birth.  In the stage area, scrap wood and planks are stacked to the ceiling along one wall, and rows of flats (tall sections of scenery that get painted and assembled as background) lean up along the length of another wall.
For Harry Potter fans, imagine the Room of Requirement when Harry needed to hide things in it.

So, for me to find a place to sit was amazing in itself.
And, this is why, when I rested my weary head, it ended up leaned up against the 2x4 of a flat.

As I sat there with my eyes closed, I very clearly felt my mother leaning her head back against mine.
It was nice.
And very odd.
Because there was no reason for her to be there.

She had no connection to this theater group.
None to this building.
She had never been a "stage mom".  Never painted scenery.  Had never sewn a costume for me.
While I know she had come to all my grade school performances (because I needed a ride), the only show I remember her attending was the one she and Lily came to in high school.

There was no reason for her to be there at the workshop.
But, she was.

I sat up and took a good look at the boards I'd been leaning on.
There was nothing special about them.
Someone had written, "Jennifer was here".
Another had made a dark X above the words "marks the spot".

It made me think of how I once had scribble my name on a shelf at college and wondered if anyone would find it.
These two theater people probably wondered the same thing when they'd left their marks.
I pulled out my pen and etched Mom's initials into the wood where my forehead had been.  It was just above a seam where two boards were nailed together.
And then, just so she wouldn't feel left out, I added Lily's initials, too.
I imagined whoever found them long in the future might think the six box letters were assembly instructions.
And I thought, "Someday, this will come back around to me..."


Last night, I stood backstage alone in the dark waiting for my cue.
We have a small cast of nine people, but often everyone is on stage together, and I am the last one out.  One by one they go until it's just me backstage.
(For you Harry Potter fans, it's very much like the Goblet of Fire when Harry is alone in the tent waiting to face his dragon.)

Staring at the door through which I would enter, I noticed off to the side of it a dark X on the 2x4 frame.

A little below it, I could just make out a scribble that could have been Jennifer's note.

And just above the seam where two boards were nailed together, six box letters.

There they were.
Waiting with me.

I had not expected it to come back around to me so soon.


Christie Critters said...

Backstage is a funny place. A place of waiting - alone and yet a part of something. A place of anticipation and yet remote. Kind of like some big cosmic waiting room from which you will walk out and become a part of something living and breathing if only for a few hours.
I have stood backstage wrapped in my character listening to the others speak their lines, waiting to become a part of them. I have also stood backstage with stage hands ripping my costume off and holding the new one I will step into - all the time detached and waiting...
It is a funny place and there are little signs everywhere to reminds us of who and what we really are and to give us little reminders of what really matters. If only we know where to look for them.

Dani said...

Nodds head knowingly.

If you felt her I'm sure she was there.

G.G. Mueller said...

And there are those moments.==sigh== ==sniffle== ((((Roses))))

Mrs. Who said...

You made me teary-eyed...that was beautiful.

(And...break a leg!)

Peter said...

I usually just lurk, today I must say that I'm glad you got to feel your mother. Mine's been gone a long time and, yet, sometimes I feel her or hear her laugh. Those are special moments. Whenever you feel those moments, cherish them.

Moogie P said...

Wow. You are an old soul. You gave me goosebumps. Again.