Sunday, January 22, 2006


The rain falls this morning and I listen, thinking it's a good reason not to go. I'm good at that, trying to find excuses for not doing something that I know will please someone else. Today it's a birthday party for a two year old. His mom called and said, "it's been a long time since we've seen you." And she's right and I think it's better that way.

It's a strange relationship - me, her, him and the baby. And my role in it so nebulous. In my head, I try to figure out how she perceives me - the woman that her husband might choose if he were not committed. Be assured that it is not so. He chose you, and chooses you still. Again and again, and I am just the one who waited in the wings in case you couldn't go on - the understudy. You were always the star of his production, from the first time he saw you on the stage. And he such a proficient director - with props and scripts so perfectly managed and practiced that we all believed it real. I practiced my script, which was really yours, and tried to write my own lines. They played again and again in my head, just in case I got an opportunity to say them out loud in front of him. But I never got the chance and will not.

He is silent now, I went off script and exited stage right when he expected me to go left. I tried to explain but he doesn't hear and has no wise words to convince me not to leave the show. Or perhaps he has guessed, as I have, that I can no longer be the understudy, that there are other shows and one of them is mine.

It happened when I was practicing a one-woman show. I would write, direct and star with no one to edit my lines. It would be my voice that was heard, my face that was seen, and my internal critic who would judge its merit. And just when I thought I had it right, I was discovered by a man who sees the possibilities for a new production. It was one of those movie moments. A chance meeting really - serendipity, being at the right place at the right time. I recited lines unpracticed, and they fell perfectly into place. The plot thickened unrehearsed. Enough drama. A romantic comedy perhaps. He has named me co-creator and has given me top billing. In the months ahead we will talk and laugh and write a script that is ours alone. Act 2 is beginning to have form, but the ending remains a mystery. While we write, I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, to let the characters speak for themselves, and write their own truth - nothing contrived. Minutes become hours and days become weeks as time passes. Each of us shares our vision with the other, and wonder how it all will play out, how the characters will grow and change, and what sort of ending will take shape.

But for now, there is only an unfinished script, and the joy of the writing.

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