Stage by Stage

The intermission of my life is over now. I find myself in this chair again. But now the chair is worn, its arms are broken and it offers little support. Sometimes I forget and become too comfortable and then I fall; its wheels are unpredictable on this floor and the chair often carries me in directions I don’t expect at all. This all makes my unseen task more difficult.

As the hidden writer, as the unseen creator of this show, obscured by a dusty veil that drapes the entire stage, he relies on me now. This actor who plays me stands before the veil, powerless with no lines to guide him on the stage. I watch him stare into the infinite darkness of eyes, pinned by lights and silence like a moth held gently between two panes of glass.

I close my eyes momentarily — quell darkness with darkness — and listen to the tiny movement of my breath as it disturbs the veil before it returns and renews me. For fleeting moments I feel grateful as one receives an unexpected gift, like a benevolent hand that lifts a beggar to his feet.

I understand that I am capable of writing anything at this moment in time, that the entire universe offers itself to me through words and those words, like tiny capillaries through skin, branch, connect and connect, each into each — they can give his life meaning through movement as much as they can take it away through inertia.

I could write a romance now and fill this man’s heart with love until the light within shines brighter than the makeshift stars above; I could write a drama, put him closer to the edge before pulling him back, tempt him with the promise of madness and love but deliver neither; or I could try my hand at comedy, give him a life full of simple misunderstandings, perhaps add in some gentle heartache, but end with a sentimental happy scene nevertheless.

And yet it seems all I can write are tragedies where nothing ends well, where love dies and laughter remains silent in the wings while his awareness of his part unfolds stage by stage, line by line in darkness beneath lights each night.

I write a quick comedic scene — he’s sitting in a chair, writing and contemplating the limited possiblities of his part. It’s a little absurd and I’m aware I may have overdone the metaphor. But it’s a scene that feels right for him now at this stage of his part. There are some chuckles in the audience, some are bored, yawn and leave.

Under the glare of lights, he raises a slight smile beneath the painted smile of the mask he’s prepared for the part. But he forgets about the broken arms of the chair and falls to the stage again.

The laughter dies and darkness fades in as I write the next scene.

© 2017 Occasional Dreams
In response to daily prompt: Capable / Unseen
Image: Theater by Hernán Piñera / CC BY


4 Replies to “Stage by Stage”

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