We saw the musical Wicked in Austin last weekend. It was a great evening full of the best this world has to offer: voices raised in song, the swelling sounds of an orchestra, clever and perfectly timed wordplay, lithe bodies moving in graceful dance. Your dad and I sat in the audience beside friends and family we loved, taking it all in.
The show ended with a curtain call, and the triumphant actors came onto the stage and took their bows while the orchestra thundered a reprise medley of the songs we had just enjoyed. The roar of applause kept swelling to a greater crescendo as pairs of actors emerged onto the stage, each better known and loved than the last. Tears ran down my cheeks as my heart brimmed with the joy of the happy ending, the triumph of goodness, and the exultant beauty of the moment.
Sam, is that how you feel every day? These best moments of ours are like little drops of water on parched tongues; we know this is what would quench our thirst if we could only get enough, even as we know it will never be enough.
This is why I cry through the curtain call: the perfection of the moment is already clouded by the knowledge that it’s slippping through my fingers. In a matter of seconds, the house lights will come on and I’ll see that person in front of me who wore a Northface jacket to the theater. There will be bad smells in the crowded bathroom and litter on the sidewalk on the way to the parking garage. I’ll overhear the rudeness of the couple in front of me, I’ll smell the stench of cigarettes on the outside porch, I’ll read a protest sign that reminds me that 300,000 abortions were performed by a single provider in the last year.
Forgive me, baby son, for the times that I wish for that you could be with me in this land of stink and sickness, perversion and pain. In my true moments I know that what my heart really wants is for us all to be with you.
Six months ago, your mama would not have thought to long for Heaven at the end of a play about the Wicked Witch. But now that you are there, it doesn’t seem as far off as it used to. I’m living more thoughtfully here in the shadows, more aware than ever that it is not my real home.
Hugs and kisses, little one. Can’t wait to see you in that place where the songs never have to end.