no pare, sigue, sigue

By January 15, 2009Blog

I’m standing outside the backstage door in the sharp cold, dressed in sweater upon sweater. It is cold you-can’t-feel-your-fingers-beneath-your-mittens cold. Pinpoints of white fall from the sky, and vanish, changing their collective minds: it is too cold even for snow.
I’m not sure why I’m standing here. A throng of people, flashing cell phones and digital cameras, outstretched hands grasping pens and playbills. I don’t need an autograph or a photo opportunity. I don’t need an extra piece of the limelight to put in my pocket; not this time.
But I am standing here just the same. The cold is whittling away the crowd to less and less, lost to the more sensible warmth of coffee shops and restaurants and home. But the writer hasn’t come out yet. And he’s who we’re waiting for.
Who I’m waiting for.
After the final bows I lingered among the rows of red cushioned seats, watching the people start to dress the set for the next performance. I didn’t want to leave. The shimmer that clings to the air after a show wouldn’t be out in the streets. The speedball of intensity born of tears and laughter in quick succession only stays in your veins so long.
Doesn’t it?
So my feet led me to the backstage door. I am behind someone from Puerto Rico, beside a couple speaking in Spanish. There are only twelve of us, fifteen maybe now, when the door finally opens. He is in a hurry, but he signs quickly for the people gathered in the makeshift line, poses for snapshots, hugs a regular visitor. I am at the tail of the crowd and he nearly passes me by, obviously on his way somewhere. “I just wanted to say–” the words leave my mouth as his back is to me, stride purposeful. He turns.
“I just wanted to say thank you. That was beautiful.” He holds out his hand to mine, and shakes it, and thanks me for coming, before disappearing into the streets of New York.


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