Monday, July 14, 2014

smiling means you're happy

When I look into your eyes, it's like watching the night sky; 
there's so much they hold 
I sang softly, looking into Lima's deep, brown eyes,
little pools of mystery.
She smiled back, her eyes filled
with stories they've seen,
with faces she's watched,
with voices she remember,
silently holding them in her heart.
She is a creature all eternal.
I haven't yet learned how to
make one of those,
which is good.
Because motherhood is still
far away, past the horizon,
on the other side of the globe.
But I have made a piece
of art--a play, an image, an
ephemeral piece of beauty--
that passes away in time,
and yet doesn't.
It's like a child:
The week before opening,
your child is a monstrous toddler,
it consumes your life,
your energy reserves are depleted
by their temper tantrums at the grocery store.
You struggle to keep the small whirling dervish
from running away from you in the department store,
and you think how nice it would be
if this child were already ten or eight or seven, even,
and just a bit more reasonable and less of a wild thing.
Eagerly, you await the day the child is fifteen
when she can diagram sentences
and solve algebraic equations all on her own.
And you think of when she'll be eighteen and can have conversations of interest.
One day, you think with eagerness,
there won't be baby toys booby-trapping the stairs,
and diaper disposals will be a thing of the past.
Because sometimes, having a small child is strenuous, smelly, and inconvenient.
Much like tech week.

But here's the rub:
[There's always a rub. I don't know why.]

just when the child becomes a teenager,
a young adult, a person of interest,
you have to share him with the world.

You don't have to share three year olds with the world.
Three year olds get to stay safely in the incubator of your home.
They are yours.
But they were made to be shared.
They weren't really yours to begin with.
Theatre is A telling B to C,
theatre can't be theatre without an audience.
A and B can't make it on their own,
they need C.
So you let them go.
You let them become radiant pieces of beauty
that the world can store in their hearts
and memories, and in eternity.
I haven't had a child yet,
only several plays.
So I don't really know how it feels,
But I think, after opening night,
watching my baby
become the audiences, not mine,
I have an inkling.

Who will remember me? a father asks,
wondering if death will erase the
part of us that we know grants mortal men
an eternal status in our temporal cosmos:
the future generations' memory of us.
His son, still a toddler,
still too young to be shared with the world,
gurgles in his wordless toddler language,
understanding, perhaps, his father's question,
and knowing that he is the answer to it.
No man is poor who has friends, George. 
No man who is loved will be forgotten.

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