We signed the contract with the venue today. I’m not quite sure how to feel—elated, yes, but definitely apprehensive. Gary’s been so distracted lately. And when he looks at me sometimes it feels like I must be on another planet, or treading water far, far away.
And yet when he speaks to me it’s only in the most direct, immediate terms. Bossing me around, actually, one might call it. “Have you called Dramatist Services to see what’s taking so long with the paperwork?” “Where’s my latte?” “What’s the story on this meeting with Martin, is it happening?” As if I’m his assistant, not Christine. And Christine, well, you’d think she were my boss or something! The way his assistant takes that snippy tone with me whenever I ask her a question, as if twisting the knife a little further that it’s not me who pays her salary… well this time, guess what Christine, it just about is. And that begs another good question–why does Gary have an assistant and I don’t yet? Hmmmmm.
I guess it’s true what they say, mixing business with pleasure get’s messy. I’m beginning to think that we’re not actually producing a play, but a fingerpainting.
Sometimes I think he thinks he can just keep jerking me around. Like I’m a mailbox (or an ATM) he can visit when he’s looking for something. And then other times I see the poetry he creates on the stage and I know it’s all worth it. His insight into the human mind, into the human condition… that’s not something that can be taught.
And there I am, looking in from the outside.
But when the curtain falls and the cocktails are finished and the chorus boys have backed off for the evening, he comes home with me. And that’s the time nobody else can take away.
We didn’t have a very good Valentine’s Day this year, but since then it’s been getting better. We talked about the need to talk, and when I brought up the point that I felt like I spoke more to his assistant Christine than to him he seemed to really melt a little. Like he’d been so stressed out and frozen solid that it just took the tiniest crack to let the warmth flood in.
And then we went away skiing last weekend and that made up for everything. I’m a better skier than he is, and—not gonna lie—it was pretty great to beat him at something, for once! Oh, Gary. So many talents. Downhill is not one of them.
The rehearsal schedule is taking shape—I’ve been pretty proud of myself. Nothing like playing honorary stage manager and chief investor for a little while! Here’s hoping one of his deus ex machina-like investor schemes comes through.
One thing that I’ve learned in my meager but colorful dating history is that it’s never good to have an ex-boyfriend who’s too ordinary-looking. That average build, average height, average Joe with brown hair and the slightest hint of a receding hairline. No indeed, once it’s over you don’t want the person who incites in you a sense of sheer panic also be a person who looks like almost everyone on the subway.
I think maybe it’s for April’s sake, that I get so jumpy. I won’t even be thinking about him, and yet I’ll see him everywhere. And every time, I get that visceral punch in my gut, a twinge telling me to bolt.
It’s not that he’s dangerous, or mean, or anything like that. It’s just the way he left; he isn’t here at all. It’s like he erased himself from my life. I still wake up sometimes and reach over for him across the bed, expecting to find his scent buried in a pillow.
I never tell April, but I think she knows just the same. It’s amazing how much she perceives, how she can feel out my moods and can be so grown up as to comfort me. I don’t think I was that smart when I was her age! Perhaps I should have named her Athena. She’s already turning out to be stronger than her mother.
It’s around this time of year I get to thinking. . . what use have I made of the past year? And the answer I get from myself is usually, “You did pretty well, Jane. Could have done better, but look what you had to work with.”
Well…….. mediocrity no more! I picked up the pamphlet for that acting school in Greece again. Just holding it in my fingertips gave me goosebumps, like I could feel the energy of the program leaping right off the page into my veins. It made me elated, excited—gave me a fleeting feeling of empowerment that I could do it; that I could do anything.
Of course, like all fleeting feelings of empowerment, this one was quickly replaced by gut-punching fear. But unlike with other bouts of gut-punching fear, this time I held my ground. I marked my calendar with the application date. I’m going to do it. Or at least try. I’ll never regret giving it a try.
One nagging question already, however. Who’s going to write a recommendation for me? Yikes. Certainly not Graham. He’d flip out if he knew I was so much as thinking of leaving, let alone leaving him without a new manuscript. Maybe I’ll have time to write both, my application and the next story. I should probably let the dust settle from the holidays, before I make any sudden movements.
Actually, on second thought, I should probably take action before inertia slows my heart rate back down again. I need to choose whether the next story I create will be his or my own.
When I was in my twenties, I thought that in my thirties I would have all the answers. That I would have figured it out by now.
Now that I’m here I have to laugh. Have I figured out anything except that I haven’t figured it out yet? Does that even count?
Heh. Maybe that I analyze so much is what’s holding me back. How do you stop analyzing? Certainly not by writing about it. Maybe I should stop doing this! Maybe I should take up watching sports?
Or what if the point is that we never figure it out, that we’re always just pushing forward. Sometimes the current is with you; sometimes you go upstream. All I know is I’m over 30. Come on . . . something!
I know, I know…. It’s just a number. But still! When am I going to feel like I’ve grown up and gotten it all together? Where’s the nice little bow to wrap around my life?
I hear they were having a discount on bows at Target. I should probably just go pick some up to stick around my apartment, after all, it’s the holidays. . . no one would think it strange.