Karma must not apply to me. Tonight I coordinated costume changes, helped the actors with their make-up, and prepared five dishes for the cast and crew party. Yet my best friend, Sydney, who demanded that half her scenes be re-blocked to capture her good side, is the one on stage, dramatically lit, kissing Matthew for far longer than the script specifies. His hands press so tightly on her body that I bet they leave marks. I watch from the wings, counting the seconds until they pull apart. Cosmic ledger-keeping in action? Give me a break.
I run a finger up and down the frayed curtain rope, tempted to yank it and bring the show to an early close. The theaterâ's so rickety it would be seen as an accident. Of course, I won't do it. Still, I need a distraction. I try to spot familiar faces in the audience. To the front left I think I catch my mom's profile. Did she and Dad sit together? More likely they froze in horror when they discovered I got them tickets for the same night, even though I told them otherwise. I still have hopes for reunification, in a Hallmark Channel kind of way. Although Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin have a better chance of hugging it out.
Sydney and Matthew, the couple headed for a happily ever after, or at least a fun weekend, belt out a duet, which will grow into a full-cast finale. Actors push past me, taking their marks on stage. Sydney's chest swells with the high notes of the final song, which she sings with gusto since this is closing night.
During curtain call, I go outside to sit on the iron fire escape, which doubles as a rollercoaster ride if you get enough people to jump on it. I sit, shivering in the mid-April evening air. At least it isn't raining, which is a springtime miracle in Seattle. I turn my phone on--we were under threat of death to keep them off during all performances--and change my ThisIsMe status from "promising" to "open for ideas."
God, I should just leave now, let Syd find her own way home. No doubt she'd use that as an excuse to ask Matthew for a ride. I scroll through my messages. Parker and Talia, my other besties, who honor the BFF code, are having an "amazing" time at the concert, LOLing about running into a guy Syd dated last year--as if bumping into one of her exes defies any great odds. I delete the message without replying.
Footsteps approach from behind me. "What are you doing out here, Vee?"Tommy Toth sits on the step above me, smelling like pine trees. He's the mastermind who designed the sets for our show, which transformed from a war-torn Afghani village to a Tokyo dance club in five minutes flat. It's a multicultural play.