RE(nt) – Cap (Heart)

Posted: February 19, 2010 in Road to RENT

I HOPE YOUR VOLUME IS ON!!!

February 14, 2010

Due to the tall photographer’s absence, different members of the crew got to step in to fill the missing spaces. Mic tech became Mr. Grey. Glowing ring became Joanne’s father and our very own main director took on the part of the police.

Because of this, the last performance became that much more special. The family had come together to ensure complete support.

I drove to the theatre ripping inside. While the soundtrack of RENT played in the speakers, Out Tonight, I tried to sweep my somberness away with thoughts of the fist pounder throwing her hair clip, and visions of one song glory imitating Mimi as he stated:

“I didn’t recognize you without the handcuffs…”

His hands crossing over his head, his foot anchoring on the chair and his hips moving side to side; however, nothing worked.

All I could think about was Without You, my mind rearranging the words:

Without you my foundation falls, my mind crawls, my hurt grows/Without you my needs mute, my desires fume, my day is gray

My soul screams, I can see my dreams, my hope flies, because of you/My heart burns, my spirit yearns, cause I’ll cry without you.

I did my best to keep myself together as I passed through the entrance door, the last time as a member of RENT. I crossed over to the girls dressing room:

”GENITALIA!”

And passed through as they had grown accustomed to my greeting.

My lip fell.

I could feel the end.

I embraced over the moon, the fist pounder, my seasons of love partner and the heavenly voice. Upon viewing the moisture welling up in my eyes, my seasons of love partner spoke:

”Don’t start. My make-up is not about to run.”

I retreated knowing that I would miss them. Seconds later I returned, eyes red, and water flowing from my left eye. Protests were staged:

“You have five hours!”

“It’s not over yet Jeremy.”

“Jeremy stop!”

“Awww Jeremy!”

I chased the heavenly voice around the theatre, she refusing to give me a hug, to give into my mood:

“No Jeremy. Don’t start. Get away from me. I am not trying to cry.”

I caught up to her as she fought me the entire time. I released and retreated into the day.

I only practiced my routine once, I was in no mood to take myself through the motions. I sang, It is Well with my Soul, for sound check. I needed it to be. It was the last performance and my soul was fainting within me.

I tried to put on a brave face as the main director gave his last motivational speech. His face turned red, his voice cracked and he began to break. I ran out of the room. Shoe and shirt application came and grabbed me, knowing how hard it was for me. I had many discussions with her on how much I loved each member of this cast and how I would do anything to prolong our time together.

She grabbed me, anchoring my weakened emotions on her shoulders and pulled me back in:

“There’s only us, there’s only this. You don’t want to have any regrets.”

It felt like a funeral.

I eventually found myself in the lobby.

I ran into two members of my church family. Having neglected their Valentine’s Day plan, they showed up to see me, waiting in line for any available seat.

My music started.

I braced myself against the handles. I turned and waved at them, before fully submerging myself in my character. I heard one of the church members speak:

“He is about to bust through the doors and do this amazing dance down the aisle and end up on stage.”

I glanced under my arm to smile at her. My vision blurred as the moisture in my eyes built up:

BROOKLYN!!!

I thrust the doors open and knew it was my last hoorah. I sucked back my liquid sentiments. I poured every emotion I had left into my performance.

I made it onto the stage readying myself for the first trick. I recalled a text from my mechanical brother:

“Land your tricks softer. It looks more graceful.”

I jumped into the air, landed on my hands and held myself completely still readying to cushion my landing.

It was flawless.

I felt as strong as an ox.

I moved through each trick passionately, every second passing reminding me of the past five months of my life. I turned, just before my first dance, and faced the band. I caught a glimpse of the music director.

My emotions ran out to him, thanking him. I turned back to the crowd and gave them my final dancing bow – back arched, completely suspended in the air, crashing down to the stage, my desires bouncing off the wood floor, reverberating and hugging me.

I disappeared off the stage, giving one last moment of passion.

(Earlier in the day, I had grabbed flour and some small Dixie cups with caps. We were running out of drugs to push for my character.)

I reached the heavenly voice, a part in our first scene that I exchange drugs with her. I reached into my pocket, forgetting the switch, and handed the cup to her. Suddenly, her hand fell over her face and she was consumed with laughter. Not able to move passed her covered up grins, I turned my back completely to the crowd and began my own tremors of hilarity.

I recovered and moved to my coke sniffing scene.

Still with the soap in my pocket, I went through the same snorting motions, smearing the detergent across my face, careful to miss my nose.

Success!

The scene ended.

Backstage the heavenly voice scolded me, laughing:

“You have to warn somebody when you do something like that.”

I yelled in amusement:

“I don’t have any more drugs, I had to improvise.”

The heavenly voice retorted, overcome with amusement:

“It looks like you were giving me tartar sauce.”

Miss Hugs A lot, the pleasant costume designer who I love to embrace, discovered my improvisation and quickly remedied the situation – sandwich bag.

We made it through ACT I on a high like no other. La Vie Boheme was so injected with energy that the audience had no choice but to succumb to its affects. It was contagious.

By the end of the song Seasons of Love, the heavenly voice was sniffing and wiping away tears. I ran away from her:

“No, if I can’t get emotional you can’t. I am all right now. I refuse to relapse.”

At one point, during the performance, I finally decided to help myself to some food. Grabbing a plate, a knife and a spoon, I tore into the Reese’s chocolate cake, my eyes glowing with hunger. One song glory, sitting nearby, broke my concentration:

“It’s good to see you finally eating.”

I turned and smiled. One song glory continued:

”Aw Jeremy, you are eating your feelings.”

His face grew bright, that infectious smile taking over, as he got up, grabbing the attention of all in the room:

“Look everybody, Jeremy is eating his feelings!”

I brought a big chunk to my mouth and bit down. As I chewed, I drooped my face and stated:

“How much do I have to eat before the pain goes away?”

Everyone laughed, I smiled. Someone commented:

“A lot!”

I turned, the moments passing, and found myself at the last scene.

I was attacked.

Fluids continued to try to escape my eyes and nose.  I grasped Shy L and rubbed her tears on my shirt. She later stated:

“Jeremy, I heard you sniffing the entire last song.”

I smiled.

As the lights faded to black, I ran off stage, first to the right hugging the crew, then to the left hugging them too. I was pushed back towards the stage:

“Jeremy, you have curtain call!”

I ran towards my spot, empty and waiting, my seasons of love partner and beanie torn pants smiling at me, waving me into place.

I could taste their love.

I escorted my two church family members to the stage and danced in the joy they clothed me in. To see their shining faces and wrap myself in the support, understanding and love they showered me with, was the perfect ending to a glorious experience. Looking into their eyes I saw the past and present. And as I quickly disassembled my mic from my body, I weaved through the lobby trying to find them.

My name was called. I looked towards the corner and ran into their arms, enamored in their words:

“See, we spent our Valentine’s Day with you.”

My mouth widened, the corners of my lips reaching for my ears:

“And I extremely appreciate it. My last Valentine’s was thirteen years ago.”

“So how do you feel?”

I jumped into my thoughts, not understanding them myself:

“Well, I am actually happy. I thought I would be boggled down with depression, ready to cry, but I am actually elated. I am content.”

I stared into their faces. One spoke:

“Well, you shouldn’t cry. You don’t cry at the starting line. This is just the beginning.”

The words licked my emotions.

((((((((((((((((((((( PRESS PLAY!!!)))))))))))))))))))

The world turned a bit more and I found myself lugging costumes, collecting my clothes – a mound reaching five feet – and beanie torn pants lobbing my many suitcases through the streets to my mother’s car.

His was generous in his offer to help me and I couldn’t help but shower him with my true feelings:

“Honestly, dude, I have to tell you…”

His face turned to mine, inquisition painted on. I finished:

“Not only are you an awesome actor and singer, but you are seriously a great person all together. I am so glad to have gotten to know you.”

I embraced him; I appreciated his presence, his spontaneity in actions and his dedication to his craft. He returned the compliments.

I relayed to one song glory how much I desired for him to continue his craft in a new arena. He assured me he would stick true to his love, inviting me to see him in action. I turned towards the fist pounder and she bestowed upon me our future pastime:

“We are going to go to shows together. That will be our new thing.”

I readily agreed.

I grabbed a hold of over the moon am slowly walked with her down the halls, dipping in her smile, resting my head on her shoulder. I felt the acceptance.

I wallowed in the eye of my seasons of love partner, I joked with the basement voice, I lingered.

Even after my assigned task was done, I prolonged my stay. I couldn’t leave.

I began to help with disassembling the brick wall. I took a brick, a memento that I cherished.

As we stood, everyone busy breaking my home down, returning it to its many singular pieces, I listened to the songs their noises created.

The slow methodical breathes sang to me. The commotion of conflicting vocal tones spoke of wonderful life. The banging jump started my slow beating heart. I enjoyed the symphony.

And when I was called to help with the dissecting of the main structure, I began to break down. My heart collapsed.

I realized, in that terrible moment, that it was all over. There was no turning back, no future shows, no more chances to hold off the RENT.

I tried to convince myself to stay, to finish out the day, but my spirit was dimming within.

I didn’t want to grasp reality.

I gave hugs all around and bid my family farewell. When I reached the music director, I tackled him. Fully anchoring my weight onto him, him falling to his back. We looked like two kids, brothers, tossing ourselves through the meadows of a spring day.

I whispered in the ear of the main director, supporting my love on his back:

“Thank you for taking a chance on an unknown kid.”

I painfully walked away.

The evening pulled into the night and I found myself, alone, staring into silence.

I listened to the thumping of my heart, each palpitation highlighting a new face, name and moment in time.

I hinged at the waist and looked around me. I filled my room with their images, their spirits. I laughed as they laughed. I smiled into their created presence. I washed myself with the things they would say, the things they had said.

I wondered if the thought about me too.

My eyes grew heavy and I rejected fatigue. I pressed against myself, forcing my body to cooperate with my thoughts. I needed more time, more memories. My eyes shut. I pried them open. I prayed for just a few more moments in mental bliss. I needed their images fresh. I needed to savor every waking moment I could of their faces, their words, their love.

I was desperate. I couldn’t say goodbye just yet, I wouldn’t.

I felt myself falling under, losing the battle to consciousness.

It was hard.

Eventually, with my mind filled with their essence – the cast,  the directors, the crew – I felt leaks. The memories harder to come by, my concentration fading.

I fought, too distressed to let them go. However, me and sleep eventually found each other.

Still, it was too hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

My heart beat on, resurrecting my affection for each one of them as I peaceably slept.

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