I hear the beat and it brings me back to you. We are dancing together in the living room. In our own little world -spinning each other, then pushing apart to individually croon into our imaginary microphones. We are putting on a show in the living room. Attendees are half engaged in muted conversation and half giving us attention. We sing alto and soprano off of one another and when we bellow out the moving, crescendo parts of the song, all attention fully focuses on us. Always. We concentrate the room. We are performers. Many of these people have little in common, but we brought them together.
‘Oh Lacey, why are you afraid? Look how you get up in front of a crowd and do this with ease?’
In a dream, I am in a car with a girl I don’t know. We are leaving town –getting the hell out of dodge. She is a stranger to me, but I feel safe. And so, I am riding along, along for the ride. I sense I’m being shown the ropes and taken under her wing. The music is loud and she cracks her window perfectly in sync with her first exhalation of a newly lit cigarette. This scenario is very familiar to me too. How many times have I looked over to a driver doing this in my waking life? This is comforting. Things are on track. We know where we’re going.
Still in the dream, I am reminded of a conversation had with a best friend in high school. Lacey tells me, ‘If I ever direct a movie, the opening scene will be two girls in the front seat of an old Cadillac driving down a freeway. The opening song will be “Good Times Roll” by The Cars. The passenger has her head bent down during the opening chords, and when the song comes into full instrumentation, she raises up quickly having just snorted a line of coke off a tray in her lap. The car speeds up and the camera pans out. The viewer sees the back bumper going down an open freeway.’ I tell her how this actually sounds like an ending to a movie. I don’t tell her how cliché or used-up the premise seems.
I wake from the dream knowing how things turned out; how prescient Lacey was. She knew the ending at the beginning.
Lacey didn’t know what she wanted or who she was going to be. She was a chameleon around different people. Most curious about everybody else’s business: where they came from; who they were; where they were going in life, she would ask questions. Constant with the questions. Obtrusive and incessant with the questions. Yet, she got away with it. She got along with everyone, because she wanted to be liked by everyone. And since she would genuinely invest in your story, you couldn’t help but love her spirit, too. This was her way of living. Vicariously. Gathering all the stories. She had to gather them up.
I remember how she hated to go to bed, to fall asleep. She didn’t want to miss anything. It would take whomever was sleeping-over on the weekends to softly scratch down her back or tickle the inside of her arm to get her to relax. ‘Please tell me a story while I fall asleep. I love your stories,’ she would say to almost anyone. It didn’t matter. Keep talking. Don’t go silent. Don’t leave her.
‘She’s an old soul,’ my mother would say. Lacey must have known. She must have known she would be the first in our group of friends to die. Her time ran out before all of us, but she had spent all her time collecting stories; almost notching them on a belt, as if they were her own. She came to be a witness to the bounty of characters life has to offer.
You brush by with a quick glance
No engagement or processing yet
This someone or something
Impossible to see all of it
What is being offered?
A piece of art, a person, a brand, a show
Each will keep divulging and expressing
the longer you linger
Over time, with more participation
there may be a chance for something deeper
Depends on how long you stay
or if you come back for more
There is personality
expressions & layers underneath
when you get to know
But you were passing by or passing through
like a visitor at the zoo
Here, one came to share in this mutual space,
yet viewed like an animal through a cage
Making note of existence, you see
We feed one another and ignore one another
Compelled by what is different from ourselves
yet much the same
Don’t tilt your chin up to look down at me
We are all here for the show and putting on a show.
Do not hand over your own desires to the desires of others, or for what others are desiring. -Brocka