Tonight was going to be about the Bronx, living here, the train rides, the odd man who keeps offering me liquor out of a paper bag.
Focus changed when I found a missed call coming out of the train on the way to rehearsal... Mr. Neeebes had called. I rang back... I mean, what was one of my Top Five (if I had that service) doing calling me? I'd just spoken to the SisterWife the night before...Mr. Nebes was in Chicago, doing Fine Arts stuff.
"Well, hello, Miss New York! What are you doing?"
I proceeded to babble on, filling him in... this wonderful friend with the freckles and the curly hair and the wonderful wife and the children who swarm over you... the man who taught me about directing and theater and who has Hawaiian blood in his veins.
"What time are you finished tonight? Can I come watch your rehearsals?"
First, I screamed.... "You are in NEW YORK!!!" and I did a dance, in the middle of a sidewalk on Park. Oh! A person! Not just a person, but, a beloved person...A person who knows me, who knows me well, and loves me all the same.
Then it sank in... watch me direct???
There is no way in Hades (see? already I'm back in Land of Utes language) he's going to watch me in my first directing gig.
"I'm finished at 8...I'll meet you at..." and I gave him a place to show up.
"Well, I'll do my best.... I'm not sure I can make it, but, if nothing else, we'll chat on the phone."
With that to tide me over, I made it to rehearsals... did my best, and almost skipped to the meeting place.
No Mr. Neebes.
I dialed his phone. Straight to answering machine.
Then, his voice that can smile... "Looking for me?"
We wandered around, looking for some place with a table outside since I had the terrier... none to be found... and settled on grabbing a meal and eating at Union Square... the best idea we could have had. He went in first to order his meal.. and came out with a huge pizza, drinks and wonderful desserts for both of us. I'd not eaten since Friday, so, I think I sucked down the first two slices without tasting them.
We talked and talked and talked. I'd forgotten how much I missed the sound of his voice and his laughter. He told me the girls had their hair short, and how beautiful E was, that she would be a handful.. I told him not to worry, with her penchant for wall writing, the boys would have Sharpie markings on their faces before they could cause problems. That H was as smart as ever... I wouldn't reconise the baby... she who devoured her first birthday cake that I made for her; her whole body in a spasm of delight when she saw it. Mr.T... da man. Solid, funny, stubborn as ever.
How proud he was of the SisterWife, with her lead in the Festival. I kept tearing up, as I am now... she is one of those women you adore... and she has this laugh. This laugh that pulls you in and holds you tight. Red haired, beautiful, with an talent... the first time I saw her, she read cold for her audition. Others had done their audition pieces, memorised, worked on... she simply stood there, and read from the script.. he'd talked her into it...Bella's monologue to her mother from Lost in Yonkers... the Casting Director and I sat there, stunned.. and I wept. She was....there.
Discussing jobs, options, directing, friends, summers, camping with kids.... things.
We sat until it was dark, then he rode the 4 with me to where he had to change trains... I put my head on his shoulder for a second, and with that, he was gone.
My little bit of Utah, my quick smell of fresh air and dear friends and my longed for Orion went with him... the doors closed, the terrier resettled in my lap....
He had said to me how proud he was of what I was doing... that I looked happy. I told him how much I was giving up, how I missed him and the SisterWife and Mrs S... how I missed the stars. I wasn't sure it was worth the trade.
Sitting on the train, listening to 15 different iPods, looking over at the remains of someone's dinner under the seat across from me, smelling the drunk who took Mr. Neebes' seat, on the walk home, past the garbage, pretending not to see the drug deal I walked past... I seriously wondered if it was worth the trade.
Life is that last 100 feet of film, no money left... the moments that take your breath away. It's wondering if love is worth it, if it exists at all, dare we hope for anything.... how is it that a few emails can cause a catch in your throat... if living alone and having that dream are enough.
So far, it is.
Yep, Mr. Neebes, so far... it is. Seeing you, though... I had second thoughts.