Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I Can't Lose This

She sits, barely breathing on the edge of her seat as the beautiful music carries her beyond life at that moment.  It was as if  a spotlight was shining down upon her.  The imagined warmth of it turning her cheeks a perfect pink.  Confident she was presenting an image of togetherness with her perfectly pressed skirt, tucked in shirt and silk grey scarf she relaxed into the lead character it seemed she had become in her mind.  Unfortunately, what showed on the outside reflected nothing about what resided within.  Emotions she was unaware of and could never have predicted bypassed her mind and came flowing down her cheeks.  The music swelled and she knew that nothing else mattered in that moment, it was meant only for her.  

Fighting the reflex to raise her hand in glorious unity she allowed her fingers to instead brush away the free flowing tears.  The shameful weight of self pity was being allowed to hang in the air, simply brought on by the power of the sounds.  And that was all it was to her, a mesh of voice and instrument together creating a moving rhythm that pulsed through her body.   Whatever the words being sung, it did not matter.  

"I can't lose this."  Her inner soul whispered softly.  

A small sigh escaped her lips while her had instinctively covered her mouth and more tears fell.  The unknown emotion wrestling with her insides was fighting to be felt and finally, forcefully erupting into a whimper.  There she froze holding tightly to and welcoming the arrival of .......grief.

This weekend Chris and I went to see the Broadway musical, "Once".  It was undoubtedly one of the most unique and moving shows I have ever seen.  From the cast of under ten people to the wonderful way each one was gifted not only in voice but by instrument.  Mix that with a playwright who found a way to keep everyone on stage throughout the entire play and maintain a mostly static set it created a masterpiece.  The Tony awards were well earned and deserved.     

Unfortunately, we were late because of me.  Not for reasons you might assume like fixing my hair or saying extended goodbyes to the kids.  We were late because I remembered the time incorrectly.  In fact, it wasn't until we were driving away from the house that I looked at the tickets that we had just printed online.  When I saw the 1:00pm time I yelped and turned to Chris with surprise in my eyes.

"Drive fast!"  I said emphatically as my eyes darted to the clock reading 12:40pm.  My mind began whirring with math problems.  We were still 22 minutes from arriving at the venue then there would be parking, walking in and finding our seats.  40 minutes.  12:40pm and we were 40 minutes from sitting down.  I felt sick with regret and anger at myself for having not double checked the time at any point over the last few days.  Dreams of a glass of wine while we toured the newly designed theater shattered at my feet along with every moment of peace I was hoping to find upon arrival.

I began to pray for peace and for time to slow down but for our car to maintain speed.  It may seem a silly thing to ask for but this little outing meant so very much to me and fitting these types of things in were becoming increasingly difficult.  Traffic and God were kind to us that day.  We ended up making it to the theater several minutes before predicted and only 3 min after the play was supposed to begin.  We used the valet service to save time and rushed to our seats walking in during the opening song and missing nothing important to the story.  It was such a relief and a gift. 

When the song ended the lead male began to talk and I instantly sucked in my breath.   A thick Irish accent vibrated throughout the theater and I could not understand one single word.  I sat very still straining with each sound to try and pick up on anything that might clue me in on what was going on.  My back muscles ached from instinctively leaning forward as if that would help.    

People laughed and I stayed silent.  

People nodded in agreement and I remained still.  

Chris could tell from my lack of interaction that something was wrong.  He asked if I could hear.  I shook my head no.

Admitting it to him opened the gates of what I was trying to keep hidden and I was instantly frustrated.  All of the rushing, expectations and anxiety in arriving had been enough of an emotional drain but now it seemed to be all to be for nothing.  I pouted silently like a child that was being left out.  I sat outside the jokes, jabs and jeers 

until the music began.  

Then in that moment I was no longer an outsider.  

I appreciated every note, chord and harmony that flowed out from the stage.  I was moved by the drastic difference and unity I felt just from the mutual appreciation of beautiful music.  Even not understanding what was said I could still participate.  Watch this Youtube video of the Broadway cast.  Skip to minute 3 to be in the exact place I was when the live music moved me so very deeply.

The moments that followed were captured in the above italicized print.  They were written as fiction to help me better express that moment to you. 

Crying helps me clear my head.  As soon as the song ended I began to wonder how I could avoid this situation in the future.  Solving my new problem gave me a sense of purpose and direction that kept me from staying stagnant in self pity.

I reasoned that perhaps I should have found the play on the internet and watched it so I would know the story line and most of what was being said without hearing word for word.  Buying the sound track ahead of time would have also proved to be helpful.  The plan going forward would be to research new plays more thoroughly before hand.
As the first act closed Chris and I set out for our much needed glass of wine.  As I sipped it appreciating the beauty around me my mood was revived.  And while I stepped into the ladies room Chris went to the gift shop and procured me a set of special headphones.    


The second act started with much clarity.  The headphones seemed to be tapped directly into the microphone system and I heard everything so much better.  I laughed when they laughed and cried when they cried because I could understand.   

I am learning that within the context of this disability grief periods will come and go over different things.   With each new opportunity that I learn will not be the same there may be a moment of sadness that needs to be had and that is OK.  Healthy even, because releasing it means it can't hold me down.  

I listen to the song that moved me so much that evening as I write this blog and I know in my heart that,

I can't lose this.