"And I do miss her. And I hope that she has left something, some little part of herself, with me. That would be miracle enough. Wouldn't it?"
The last show my grandmother performed in was Agnes of God.
I started rehearsals for Agnes of God yesterday - on what would have been my grandmother's 99th birthday. The title of this post is one of my lines from the play.
Sometimes coincidences are just plain freaky.
For those of you who haven’t experienced the wonder of performing live theatre, the first rehearsal is very much like a first date – all full of hope and the possibility of a successful future, filled with awkward pauses and shy smiles. You meet the other cast members for the first time. Everyone shares little glimpses of who they are. You make snap judgments about everyone, leaning towards the positive because they’re in the same boat with you for the next five weeks. You nervously imagine the rest of your life with him, your children, growing old, who dies first – oh wait - that’s just a first date.
And then you read through the play.
Sometimes it’s the first time you’ve read the play and everyone is hesitant to interpret their characters. Or everyone is making weird choices about where their character's emotional journey will take them, making the read an overly emotional roller coaster. Sometimes it’s a play everyone knows and lots of discussion takes place before, during and after the read, about how this one will be different, better and more awesome than the last. Sometimes the read-thru is painful, people tentative over words, reading their parts without a semblance of life, making no eye contact or attempt to share moments with each other and you start to question why you signed up for this.
This one was different.
This one was a very emotional first read for me, partly because it’s a very well written script and the two other ladies were not holding back, attacking each scene head on, nailing the passion and the anger and pain right away. Goose bumps were felt more than once and I actually found myself in tears as I yelled back.
But mostly it was an emotional first read because of my grandmother. I could hear her saying the Mother Superior lines, her dry tone pulling the comedy out of the darkness. I could see her in her nun’s habit glaring and snapping out her responses, back stiff and intimidating. And I could remember her confusion when the dementia took over and a line disappeared. The panic on her cast mates as they tried to pick up the story and continue. Her disappointment and her realization that this would be her last show.
This play will be a hard one. Not just because of the subject matter – Science vs. Religion. And not because we’re performing in the midst of the bible belt at a very religious college – but because it’s a bitter sweet good-bye to a woman who’s footsteps I have followed.
If you need me over the next few weeks, I’ll be the one with the box of tissues, paper bag to hyperventilate into, mumbling my lines and trying to keep it together. They don't say all actors are crazy for nothing...
I nurtured the Hibiscus through the winter, keeping them warm in the garage by the big window. I fought off aphids, I watered them and fed them and as a reward, I had blooms most of the winter.
When spring came to Nashville, I brought them outside for the unfiltered sunshine and fresh air. They were happy. Buds started to form. The almost neon green of the new leaves forming on the branches complimented the red and brown of the brick wall they stood near. I was happy to see them happy. I went off to California for the weekend to surprise Brother for his 40th and BLAM - two beautiful warm days in a row were followed by a massive drop in temperature and an ice snowstorm and my hibiscus were dead.
But I’m me. I’m female and I refuse to let things die – or admit to myself that something is dead. How many relationships have I held onto thinking, “But wait, he might change? He might stop being an asshole and become the person he was when we first started dating. I should stay instead of walking away?” How many jobs have I put up with thinking that the asshole of a boss will quit or get fired or die a horrible death? How many times have I just hobbled alone hoping my back will just heal itself and I’ll be like new again? How many fights have I had with Husband where he said something insulting or he was absolutely and totally wrong that I will bring up with him till the end of time?
Yeah, I refuse to let things die.
And that is why the Hibiscus currently sits on my porch step, all tall sticks with dead wrinkled, crispy leaves dangling off their brittle branch stumps, a testament to my female hope that they will come back.
This morning I decided I’d mourned their loss enough and I was going to pull them out of the pots and relegate their bodies to the mulch pile but then I saw this –
And that, dear friends, is why I hang on looooonnnnnng after most have moved on. Because there might be a sliver of neon green hope popping out of the brittle brown of a dead relationship.
That and one day, Husband might actually admit I was right – that I am right!
Little victories like these make ej a happy girl. If you can call being too lazy to throw out a plant a month ago a victory... like I totally am. This is going in the ‘Win' column. Yea for me and for blind stupidity - I mean, hope. Yea for hope!
I am the proud mama of two fuzzy owls. Okay, really I'm just a stalker at the bottom of the tree with a camera but I'm sure it feels the same.
I've not be doing much but Owl baby stalking.
I'm pretty sure, that's all today will hold too - me and the camera on the street taking pictures of the fuzzy two while they look back with pure wonder and amusement. It's like I'm IN the zoo.
Husband is a better shot but shooting at dusk into the tree isn't the best way to get a clear picture of how freakin' cool these little guys are. In order for you to see them, I have to zoom in so you don't get to see how fuzzy and tiny the little dudes are. And how much they blend into the pattern of the tree branch. Mama Nature knows her stuff!
Anyway - more pictures!
May green be the grass you walk on. May blue be the skies above you. May pure be the joys that surround you. May true be the hearts that love you.
Most folks are getting dressed in their Easter best. Me, I'm run/waddling up the driveway in my comfy clothes and slippers, not showered, hair a total sight, camera pointed into the tree because....
WE HAVE BABIES!!! WE HAVE BABIES!!!
The owl babies are here, out of the nest and fluffing in the morning sun.
This flock of crows was not so welcoming. EDIT: According to Aunt, who knows way better than I, the birds attacking are Ravens. A group of Ravens is an unkindness of Ravens - and their behavior here is why!
I am over the moon with joy! Husband is still asleep.
Thankfully, most of the neighbors are too. Otherwise, I'm sure a 5150 is in my future...
Happy Easter all!
Ever read the side effects on a set of pills you’ve just got from the doctor? The doctor that gave you a verbal rundown of what you might experience while taking the wacky concoction but you were in too much pain so you just nodded and smiled and just started taking the pills, never reading the novel of tiny writing that came with the pills?
Then ever start feeling weird stuff in your brain and suddenly your face is on fire as if you have been in the sun, literally IN the sun for days?
That’s happening to me right now. All that awesomeness is happening. And now talking is suddenly an massive effort, just to get the words out of my face. The face that is currently on fire with the heat of a thousand suns. There is a slight delay when I turn my head. Not really a tracking issue, more like an interval before all the moments I’m seeing all catch up and blend into one moment. Not in a bad way, just in an operate vehicles in a careful way.
Then there’s the sharpness in my blinking. It’s not at the eye, is way back where my sight goes into my brain. It hurts there when I blink. And my eyes are dray like the desert. Fitting since they are in my face that is as scorching as the desert.
My heartbeat has been audible, like in my throat but slower, almost like my heart is stoned. I actually downloaded an app to that tracks your heart rate through the camera lens of your phone. It proves my heart is spaced-out. Also not in a bad way. It's actually pretty cool to hear it beat in my eyeballs. The eyeballs that are in the face blistering in the sun.
On a good note, my back and butt cheeks have stopped sending spasms of burning fire down my legs. And the bruise where I was digging my thump into the spot to stop the pain has started to fade. I’m also able to stand up without having to walk my hands up thighs to get myself into an upright position and I'm not groaning or moaning or crying every time I stand. Or move. Or breathe. So that’s good. What’s a little flaming face if my back is stoned?
Four more days to go on my magical mystery tour. When do I see the flying monkeys?
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me