Time Repeats Itself Here

(This was written after the Fall 2006 show at Boulder High, Where I’m From.)




Time Repeats Itself Here

“Promise me, Pooh, that you won’t forget me ever, because if I thought you would, I wouldn’t leave.” -E.E. Milne

The show is over. We made it. I’m filing out of the auditorium, wondering if the tears in my eyes are noticeable by everyone who looks at me.

I’m walking through the crowd, the faces are all different, all strange, but the fundamental human emotion is the same on every face, the same now as it was six years ago, when it was my school, my lobby, my theatre, my show. We are all so glad that we did it, so sad that it is over, so full of energy and so exhausted. The hugs are the same, there’s always someone else in the sea of faces to greet, to congratulate—there’s always more human contact to make.

Soon, most of the audience leaves—to drive home, hopefully touched, maybe even teary, like me. I head back into the auditorium, to clean up, to feel busy while I’m waiting for everyone to leave so I can lock up the school.

I sit in the back of the auditorium, while everyone else dances onstage. They jump wildly, the music pounding, the lights dim and flashing. Their joy is apparent, the relief of being finished, the pure joy in how well this all turned out, being so glad that they created it, and that here they are, who are capable of creating it, and now that they can celebrate, let loose.

The song ends, and their life resumes—actors head understage to change—to discard their characters into a heap on the floor, to turn back into themselves. The tech crew congregates in the lobby, planning their evening—are they going to go to the cast party with the actors or have their own private party at Martha’s amazing house?

The auditorium—onstage and in the house—is completely deserted. I am walking onstage, unplugging lights, moving set pieces, still trying to busy myself while everyone else is leaving.

She is walking down the isle towards me, hands in her pocket. She joins me on the stage. We stand together, we who have come, gone, and come back to this place. We stand onstage, as we used to, understanding, knowing, connected. We are in tears, looking around, remembering. She is a year younger than me, but more than anyone, she is my generation. We were on crews together, knew the same people. We ate dinners together, pushed barricades, carried Styrofoam rocks, wood benches. Once in the middle of the night, we sat together in a playground—talking, thinking, just breathing—while the world spun madly and chaotically around us. Now, we stand alone together, staring into the lights, the seats, into the deserted wings as we used to and no longer do. Everything is the same here, we have changed. Or have everything changed around us, and we are still who we always were?

We haven’t spoken for three months at least. The last time I saw her, we were parked in my car, connected in the dark. We aren’t good friends, but our friendship is a powerful emotional one. We share moments—silent moments where there are no words for what we understand.

Now she’s gone. Not far, physically, but far enough. The new ones won’t know her name, won’t remember the barricade or those benches. They won’t remember.

We immortalize ourselves here, to try to keep from being forgotten. We use permanent markers to try to convey to future generations who we were, why we mattered. For someone about to leave, the simple act of signing, finalizing, is as purging as Confession.

She tells me that she left without signing. Now feels right, she should do it now, while we still feel the way we do. Now that she is coming to terms with being gone from this place. We search for a Sharpie. Things never change here, of course we can’t find one when we need one. We pry the lid off of a can of black paint, racing, faster, faster, to immortalize this feeling before it fades. We race past actors, swinging the paint bucket madly. She pours the paint on her hand so that she doesn’t get too much on the brush at once, touches the brush to her hand, and begins. She wrote, I sat, reading the signatures on the walls as if they were epitaphs: “Brighton Beach Memoirs- 1993,” “Prop Goddess, 1982.” They all sound the same. Ten years after the 1993 production, we did Brighton Beach again. I don’t know anyone who remembers the old one, and few who even remember the newer one. She was in the newer one; we have that memory together.

While we are signing, the now kids, the ones who were in the show, pass. Although they don’t understand what we are feeling, they can sense that it is important and profound, timeless.

“Thank you,” they say, walking past in their jazz shoes and high-tops. The same shoes we wore, when we used to walk down here. I look up at them, smile, and they’re gone.

Soon, everyone’s gone, and I’m alone in my dark theatre. I am walking through dark hallways that I know better than I know the hallways in my own house, locking doors, picking up garbage. I find a black Sharpie on the floor of the girl’s dressing room. I walk down the tunnel until I find my name. I kneel down before it and uncap the Sharpie. My hand pauses—there are no words for what I feel, and trying fit it into words would be to diminish what it truly is. I recap the Sharpie and pocket it, but I remain kneeling in front of my eternal section of the wall, reading about who I used to be, trying to see myself as an outsider.

As I am writing this—frantically scribbling snippets of memory and hoping that they will be intact enough to understand and feel later—there is black paint smeared on the palm of my hand. Like the Sharpie on the walls, it reminds me of something that once happened, an event that will never exist again exactly as it did before. The paint will wash off, and the marker on the walls will fade into the many other signatures and be forgotten. The people will come and go, their lives will be changed, and they will be the only ones to remember. My hand will be stained with black paint again, and again, I’ll wish it would never wash off, so I could be reminded of some incident or other that—however fleetingly—touched me.

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~ by kiranapoleon on September 29, 2007.

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