Archive for the ‘Making Miracles’ Category

Bringing the LOVE back...

April 19, 2010

My RENT CD’s were at the bottom of the pile…

Tiny droplets of thoughts dripped into my conscious mind like a leaky faucet. I tried to wipe each verbal image clean as it slowly drowned my contentment:

What if it’s not the same? What if the feelings have gone stale? Will we just go through the motions? Will the fire be there? Will I…

My mother interrupted my immobile position:

”Don’t you have somewhere to be?”

I laughed peering towards the glowing digital red numbers:

”Yes, I am supposed to be there at 6:40pm.”

My mother screamed back:

“It’s 6:40 now. Boy, get out of the house!”

I jumped to my feet with a chortle escaping my throat. I passed from my mother’s room to mine, a new piece of clothing adorning my body with each new appearance. Each time I poked my head through her gently cracked door I was scolded:

“Boy, get out! If you are late I am going to punch you in the face!”

I screamed one final playful laugh, assaulted my mother with a kiss, and ran towards the highway, emotions quickly fading into nostalgia:

No matter, at least I will get to see some familiar faces nonetheless.

I was headed to Pat’s Pizza for a talent showcase. The RENT family had opted to come together and put on a mini-show. Never thinking I would ever get over RENT and singing the songs repeatedly like a broken flashing clock, the CD’s were finally at the bottom of the CD rack, the images I created slowly making their way into the long term memory bank.

I found the place.

My body exploded into a smile. With the recognition of the first face I couldn’t hold onto any reservations I once harbored. I was a vacant wall of emotions, waiting to decorate my domain with embraces, laughs and polite gestures.

My mind traveled to undergraduate school, high school, middle school and elementary. No matter the tune of the day, there was always someone(s) waiting to engulf my company. I felt needed, wanted, desired and craved. My mind meandered forward:

It has been years since I have been in a room full of people, besides church and family, who genuinely appreciate my presence. Who are happy to see me – genuinely.

It felt good.

I looped back over to Kristin. Hugging her, feeling that familiar embrace that I had been disqualified from at the closing of RENT, I was jolted by her words:

“My mom is over there. Go say hi! She will love you even more.”

I flinched.

I turned my head towards to see Mrs. Romero and her three sisters huddled around a table. I spotted the two who had flown in from the Philippines to be with their beloved ailing sister. My thoughts comforted me as I grew more grateful towards the cause that ignited their reunion. Then, in an instant, my thoughts became troubled:

What if her mom doesn’t recognize me? Will I look foolish trying to embrace someone who takes me as a stranger? Will she even want to talk to me?

I slowly made more rounds and eventually found myself at the table. Before I could form a complete sentence, Mrs. Romero was on her feet, embracing me as if we had know each other for years – the kind of hug you know you can feel safe in.

LOVE...

Repositioning herself in her seat, she began to introduce me to her family. My mind twirled and my lips failed to greet one another, like familiar sides of a magnet, as my teeth bared my excitement. Finally, at the end of her introductions she leaned in towards her beautifully spirited sister and proclaimed I was the giver of something that I, too, held near to my heart.

It was a keepsake given to me. The center piece hung splendidly, held up by a darkened rope. To me, the misshapen heart hanging from the threefold cord displayed how we weave through life constantly adding more support to our hopes, dreams, desires and heart. No matter what shape our hearts may resemble, when hanging by the threads of love, it will always be secure, capable to spread charity to the world. Love conquers all. Neverthless, each time I wore it, the rope, at times, coming undone, I knew it did not belong to me. And when Kristin organized her March towards a Miracle, I knew exactly where it belonged.

I stood there for a few lingering seconds, bathing in the magnificence I saw in every gesture they made. I could see, no, feel the genuine affection radiating off of each of their beings. It was electrifying.

The evening began.

Having missed the opportunity to see Brendan perform One Song Glory during the performance of RENT, I waited excitedly to hear those finely tuned vocals. Instead, I saw something far more amazing.

I saw Brendan.

I saw the person, the being, the natural human that was him. I saw the vulnerable performer, taking the stage to please the audience. I saw the playful humor in forgetting a line and pressing forward with comedic gestures in place. I saw.

Timothy and Matt B. sang through their song and I was amazed at how their harmonies were still in place. I could see the worry on Matt’s face as he tried to keep the song safe and not to disturb his ailing throat any further. Still, he missed not a beat. It was great. And then I observed the epitome of restraint.

Kristin took the stage.

Having been coerced into singing the stripper pole song Out Tonight, I waited to see what she would do. With children being inches from the stage, my eyes pierced into her wondering if she would break loose. She began.

She tossed a slight hip and brought it back. She lightly flung her hair and brought it still. I could feel her wanting to, desiring to, simply craving the need to break out and put on a full out rendition of her the character. However, she restrained. Nevertheless, I didn’t.

I jumped hooted and hollered as her voice, sounding better than ever, soared through the song. I tried to remain as still as possible. But, before songs end, I was going through her choreography as if I were the one who performed it on a winding steel structure. I thought:

Man, I miss that performance. I loved being in groupie mode.

Maureen C. and Laura M. performed their tango Take Me or Leave Me.

If Broadway needed two stand-ins, they had their people. As Laura M. started my mind placed her on the big platform. I was no longer in a small restaurant, cramped against a bar stool. I was in the crowd, amongst theatre enthusiast enjoying the stylings of the stage. And then, as Maureen C. jumped in, a bit behind the music, I got worried.

My body tensed up as I hoped she did not fluster herself. I waited for her to skip a few phrases, jumping into the lines the music depicted. She did neither.

Smoothly, as if it was written that way, Maureen paraded into the song, somehow, causing the words to flow into the beat. Almost instantly she was parallel to the music and bringing more comedy to the piece than worry. I stared in awe as I admired her professionalism, fingering its implications through my mind.

Soon, we found ourselves at the finale and the feeling of unity vibrating through the room.

At the end of the night we shared longing embraces and exchanged laughs. Brendan, laughing uncontrollably at a phrase I threw out, was the last image of hilarity before everyone finally departed.

I made my way home, dressed myself in my emotions.

The next morning everything hit me.

April 19, 2010

“Mama, you have to hear this!”

I tore into her room, laptop in hand, demanding she listen to Season’s of Love – seeing that Tia T. and Mike H. had not shown that night, their solos were performed by two others; one being me and the other a stand in brought by Timothy.

I positioned the laptop on my mother’s bed, waited for her to finish stalling, prolonging the process to her perceived torture, and pressed play. I could see her mind working, the expression pasted on her face, as she tried to conjure up the words to soften the blow to my feelings. I could tell she did not desire to endure one more of my outlandish vocal diarrhea’s leaving a stench in her ears. The music started.

My mother flinched.

My part came up.

My mother braced.

I finished singing.

My mother had seen a ghost.

Her mouth flew open and her breath became heavy. I knew what it meant. I had seen that expression before and I knew it was good. I knew it, because I wore the same amount of shock on my own face.

It was the first time we had gotten an inkling of what I truly sounded like, could sound like. The hollering, bellowing and blow outs were nowhere to be found. It was…

Embrace...

I began:

”Amen…”

I stuttered:

”I…I…I don’t know where that came from… I…um… Wow mama. Can you believe that? Praise God!”

I was humbled at what was, tears kissing my eyes. It reignited something I had recently put down.

I dreaded going to the RENT mini-reunion as I had recently given up on singing. Newly into voice lessons feeling like a hopeless gong and with years of being told to shut up, hush, be quiet, you’re hollering, stop that, I simply concluded that I was chasing an unattainable dream.

That little boy that sang next to windows, hoping to be discovered was laid to rest. I buried him. I no longer desired anyone to hear my voice outside of playful antics, and standing in front of a crowd with music overshadowing my vocals, portraying its wreckage, was nothing I ever wanted to do again.

I simply concluded that I couldn’t sing.

It was a harsh reality to myself. My mind affirmed:

Yeah, you never really liked your voice anyway. It’s okay. You can do other things.

Singing had died and I had no idea how I would break the news to the cast of RENT. I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I wasn’t getting any better.

As I found myself amongst them, the absence of Mike H. ringing through the seats, Kristin turned to me and asked:

”Will you sing Mike’s solo? Are you okay with that?”

I threw a smile on my face and shook my head in excitement. On the inside a thump of fear quaked my body:

No, it’s not okay.

I spoke:

“Of course, you know I know every part!”

I prayed she did not hear the hesitation through my words.

Next Laura M. asked the same question. I nodded to her, once again stating that I knew every part of RENT inside and out. I turned my head, the announcer calling us to the stage, and tore at my phone:

Omg, I FORGOT THE WORDS!

It was too late, the music had started and I prayed for daylight.

As I sat there, next to my mother, listening to myself, hearing ME for the first time, no imitations – John Legend, Whitney Houston, Linkin Park, Lifehouse – my little dream was revived. Then it grew. It took delight in the promptings of the past.

Having taken up voice lessons, and feeling the differences of my singing and trying to reignite the dream that withered within, I slowly let the dream die. I took a week off from lessons to revaluate my desires. They had blackened.

My mother sat me down one day and told me:

“You aren’t me. You can’t sing like me.”

I put forth my rebuttal:

“But you have a great tenor voice and I only know you.”

I had grown accustomed to imitating her. My throat bled for relief as it throbbed, but I only knew my mother’s voice. She continued:

“Honestly, you sing like…”

The name she used was a blackened memory of my past. I spoke back, my voice quieting:

“I have never heard him sing.”

Desperation reached her brow as she searched for a solution. She found one. She handed me a CD and warned:

“You are not him, this is just an example of the ease that you should be able to sing. Be you, not him.”

My aunt cried when I showed her the video. I praised Jesus once again. She stated:

“I always said you had a good voice, I just never knew what you were doing with it.”

I tore upstairs, glad to have my dream back, my thoughts leading the way:

Neither did I…

I fell asleep as I embraced myself with my thoughts, my newfound discovery.

I felt warm.

See Video Here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeDOVbAG0WM

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