On Pulling the Curtain

I had been celebrating until I woke up. 

I had been in a space of warmth and welcoming until I went to sleep.

I hadn't had an answer before my eyes opened again. Checked again.
I just want to be right that the answer I am given is right.

I read the headlines while I am still alone.

I am preparing for the day as usual until I realize all is silent.

I am in Manhattan in the downcast and everyone is at loss. This feels too soon to be mourning, again. This is too soon for me to mourn again. I empathize by understanding what has happened, but remember empathy means only to understand. I ask people how they are doing because they need me to ask them, even though I feel it is an expected hospitality. I too am not sure how to deal with this, but others are silent with grief or unable to speak. They are somber and morose, blue in every shade of grey. There is dread and foreboding and shock at the day and I am unprepared to comfort beyond the condolences I have given in the past month. I am not prepared to hear everyone say the things I only heard so recently at a memorial. "I never would have thought this would happen." "I don't know what to say." "I still can't believe it."

The coffeeshop is quiet with hushed typists and rude tech interviewers and foreign languages in low conversation - nobody wants to draw attention. The man is a poor actor, who makes a scene of his demand to speak to the manager about the cockroach in his delivery order. We are an audience for worse, because nobody cares about his delivery or his tight voice or his cockroach.

The curator is jetlagged and in shock about the headlines. I had herbal tea instead of caffeine so I'm drowsy as we talk and overheating in my layers. I can feel my face as red as the scarf around my neck, silk soaked in sweat at the nape. We talk openly but I wonder who is around us, and from which side of the schism of our union.

I had been celebrating until I woke up.

I leave the coffeeshop for the British tea shop across the street. I have time before the book launch for my friend's study of empathy through immersive performance. Technically the publication date was yesterday, Election Day. I pass a mob forming and feel like I am witnessing biology under a microscope.

The tea shop is full of English accents, puddings, sweets, and other imported goods in varying degrees of perishable and not. The man behind the counter brews a cinnamon tea for me while I ask if he would consider returning to England. He gives a resounding no . "Everyone in their little towns, in my little town, everyone is still there." Him, he's made it to New York. He's made it to America.

As I prepare to head into the night now that early evening is heavy with despair and total darkness, more accents come in for their shifts. I am the only customer in the English shop while it drizzles out in the night and I am feeling like a sticker that just won't hold to the image. The men discuss their bitterness and disappointments surrounded by teas. Somehow we get to where do you live and what do you do. I write. What do you write? We're launching a journal. We're launching a magazine. Arts and literature. Plays and playwrights.

Here's the information.
You should come. 

I had been celebrating until I woke up.

The chain that started the morning was urgent with responses, one email over the other like a many-threaded braid. Left, right, hold the center. The subject is us; the action is not attached. The metaphors begin to blur the codes. I am unaware of what to expect next but mostly I am unprepared for the medium. We are ending the first act without having a finale written. I do not know which is my role yet but I do know that I am already off-book.

If Godot is our director we have just been informed that he is dead. 

They say, Break a leg.
They say, The show must go on.