Saturday, August 18, 2007

All the stage is a world

The consummate actress stereotyped and playing the same role countless times until she knows the outcome from the first words. There are variations; there are always variations, but essentially the script is written. When they meet she is the most wonderful woman he has ever met, so challenging, bright, intuitive, and giving then things deteriorate slowly until she is no longer top of his to-do list, no longer the first thing he thinks of in the morning or the last thing he kisses goodnight in his mind, no longer the bright spot on his horizon, the cherry on his sundae, no longer the one person he cannot imagine his life without. She becomes an emotional millstone around his neck, the clinging vine that refuses to die and let go, kudzu that pops up wherever he forgets to rout it out and even where he remembers to dig its roots from his soul. He cannot move away far enough or fast enough. She gets the message but cups a tiny spark of hope between her praying hands even though she knows he won’t come back for more than a moment, the hot memory of sweat and kisses and breathless anticipation and the soft crash of wave after wave of unbelievable passion too soon over and best forgotten until the end when neither can handle even the aching touch of regret and goodbye. She goes on through a veil of tears and he moves back into the comfortable depths of his old life or moves on to someone new, always with the niggling thought that he is giving up more than he should until the memory refuses to drown, bobbing to the surface over and over, haunting his dreams and pricking his numbed heart until he comes back only to find she cannot go through another roller coaster ride. They both lose but promise each other never to forget.

End scene. Cue credits. Curtains close. Audience shuffles blinking in the sudden light to the exits and out into the darkness back toward home, the story fading slowly at first and then faster, swallowed by their own lives and chores and bills and regrets and choices.

The actress prepares for the next role, needing no study for what comes because she has played it all before. She was a professional. She always hit her marks, said her lines with conviction, making the audience believe what she believed. Another day to live, another role to play, another brief respite of happiness before the descent into another poignant and painful farewell until the script allows her to find happiness at last or she fades into the oblivion of silence for a while or forever.

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