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i’m not sure if there is a medical term for this condition presently in usage, nor am i sure what it would be called if there were such a term in the medical lexicon; but i have the opposite of ‘stage fright’. i’m never afraid to step in front of an audience. i live for it in a lot of ways. there’s a serenity up there that i could never articulate, a point where everything seems so still, so oddly quiet- almost like it’s about to start raining. and i guess it does rain- i pour out words, notes, sweat, tears, and soul, if a soul is indeed what human beings are endowed with. i have a bad feeling about that, though; i have my doubts, but it doesn’t matter. what i’ve discovered to be the most unbearably cruel aspect of performance is the end of it all- when the applause stops, when the lights go down, when everyone i’ve tried to connect with starts shuffling away down the aisles and toward the doors- that’s what frightens me. it doesn’t seem right that a person can travel all around and try to make people happy through entertainment, and in so doing, be surrounded by new people and places, yet still feel empty and lonely, almost worse than how it was before it started. everyone files out and i come to the same conclusion each time it happens: that getting up on stage does not and will never bother me, just because it feels right; but it’s turning around to walk away like there’s something still burning in my lungs or on my lips that i’m dying to say, to scream, but my mind goes blank. everything goes dark and i forget what it was i was trying to convey in the first place. shouldn’t we all be doing something fun after the show is over? anything at all? and it starts to come back to me, bit by bit, what i was trying to say and could not, but not until i’m back in the hotel room, lying on the floor, watching sportscenter because i’m so high i don’t mind it despite my general dislike of major sports. and when i finally do pull the words up from out of me, from wherever they’d gone to hide, i try to smile, to have a ‘eureka’ moment, some grand epiphany others can see because it appears like magic above my head, a giant light-bulb, the universal symbol of the big idea, that’s about to turn on….everything is so close to being illuminated i can taste the tungsten in the back of my throat. it’s like i’m prometheus tip-toeing in some eternal night, so cautiously, but so excitedly, because i’m only moments away from bequeathing unto mortal man the gift of almighty fire i’ve stolen from on high, so surreptitiously that it doesn’t seem possible i could ever be found out- the perfect heist and the perfect hero. but i raise myself from the floor. i look around the hotel room. i’m 5 stories up from the streetsides of some foreign city i’ve found myself in. i’m the only 1 around. you packed your things and left already, a few cities back. no suitcase, no stray stockings, not even a wisp of hair on the pillowcase. and realizing how unutterably alone i am, i swallow the words i was about to unleash as if they possessed some inherent importance, some value at all, and i try to make myself forget this somber, but passionate soliloquy, but i can’t. i guess sometimes i just wonder where you are, if you’re awake or asleep. i’ll never call. no e-mail. no text. no nothing. i’ll drift from city to city like a somnambulist, a serenader of the forgotten and broken-hearted. sometimes i feel like a ghost. and sometimes i can’t help but wonder what you did all day.
i guess this then is a status-turned-essay in miniature, about a film, about a boy, about all the girls he loved, about all he lost, about the ancient eastern belief in the red thread of destiny: you are connected to your life partner for all time by an invisible red thread, and if only by that, you’ll always find each other. or always casually miss each other. it works both ways. you can always lose someone if you really want to.
‘I Wonder What You Did All Day’ (2011). b/w (french w/english subtitles). a short film written and directed by alexander frost, featuring appearances from the director and the lovely-as-always miss mariana perez, the actress. my film professor made me watch scenes from that michael douglas movie. this is what i gave him in return. it’s a gift. it’s so beautiful you’ll be sick. and with that, i walked away from school. watch.