Wow, this is a harder story to finish than I thought. Of course, I visited Schroeder a couple of weeks ago and can only now write about it, so you can guess how traumatic it actually was. Okay...deep breath-es-es.
So, Schroeder invited me to come see his show and stay the night at the hotel the cast was staying at. The last time we saw each other I was a 133 pound, wild-maned, strong-willed 23 year-old girl. At the time I was damaged but not yet broken. He was 28, distant yet strong, and had so much talent. He, too, was damaged but still pushing forward.
But here's the thing, time passed. I got married, had one baby and lost two, had two really bad car accidents, gained lots of weight, left the theater world, lost that wildness and became broken. The 23 year-old girl he knew had been replaced by a 40 year-old mom who had only just managed to glue her broken pieces back together. The glue wasn't even dry yet and here I was driving towards a man who could actively see just how far I had fallen. I felt like I was risking being shattered again, not because of anything that he would do, but just because I was afraid to see the disappointment in his eyes at what I had become.
As I drove the longest, must desolate road in my state, I imagined the conversations we would have. Of course he would want to talk about the theater company. We were like hostages who had been freed, bonded together for life from our experiences there. I knew he would want to relive those moments a little. It is only natural to discuss shared bad memories. Would I be strong enough to go back there?
He reads my blog. I knew he would want to talk about the paranormal stuff. Everyone always does. It's one thing to write about it and tell the stories, it's another thing when someone actually confronts me in person. Would I be ready to defend myself against disbelief when I wasn't even sure I believed myself?
But the biggest thing that terrified me was the weight gain. Would he accidentally say words that unknowingly hurt me? I am so ashamed of the weight I have gained. That more than anything else is the worst thing. Here was this man who knew me....who really knew me back then. Would he like the me that I became?
So I braced myself and I arrived at the show with 5 minutes to spare. I texted him that I was in my seat and he asked me where. I told him and he said he would give me a "Carol Burnett" ear tug when he walked onstage. He walked out, tugged on his ear and my heart just welled up with so many mixed emotions. He sat down at the piano and began to play and I was suddenly hurtled backwards to my early 20's. I watched his hands play the piano. Those hands. He could have been at a piano with fifty other men and I would recognize the way HE played the piano. Those hands that used to play music for me. I felt a huge, gaping hole rip open in my chest. What had I done by coming here?
More tomorrow....(E and Hubby are both in Florida with his family so I will have time to write, RV, I won't leave you hanging.)