Vignette: I do! I do!
September 26, 1998 – I made reservations for three to the play I do! I do! at the Asbury Methodist Church. I had asked K&N, T, N&J, G and my sister to come, and no one wanted to go. J, G and I had planned to go out to dinner, but G said he wasn’t hungry. I had been to Semolina’s the day before, and N agreed to go just to be nice. She was stressed out about a paper due on Tuesday.
So I took Jay home and started home too when I found myself only blocks from the church. The play was starting in a half-hour. I parked in the church parking lot and went in. First person I saw was JC, carrying a box.
We spoke, and my anxiety level rose. I found myself laughing at myself, when a theatre dream-memory flashed thrugh my mind. I wondered if JH was there, too, and if he would pull some stunt to discombobulate me. I decided to comb my hair, at least, and rinse my mouth out with baking soda, just in case. I had an anxiety-ridden time trying to find the tools in my purse, worried that someone would come in the bathroom, think the baking soda was cocaine, and I would miss the play.
I believe the real basis of my anxiety was fear over wanting to appear attractive, putting some effort into it, even. Where did I get the idea it is dishonest to put effort into being attractive? Maybe I haven’t wanted to before now. It seems instead I put effort into keeping people at bay.
Anyway, attending to my hair and breath reassured me, and I commenced to enjoy the play. It amused me to think about me attending a play about a 50-year marriage, by myself, not particularly worried (for a change) about what anyone might think. I told myself I’m studying to see how this marriage thing is done.
The play was good. The co-stars were Billy and Cheri Hester, the husband and wife pastor team of the church. They apparently met when both were involved in theatre, before he went to seminary. On stage they showed ability to enjoy each other’s company through thick and thin. I wondered why that seems such a difficult concept to grasp.
At intermission, I remained in my chair, taking in the surroundings, thinking about T. G once commented she always exuded womanliness. He likes to flirt with her. I thought about how reserved she is, how she exudes solid self-confidence, groundedness, maternal strength. I sat there identifying with her large Leo heart and thinking I have those qualities, too, when I choose to use them.
I noticed there was a man standing behind me, his crotch 10 cm from the back of my head. I noticed because he stood still for so long, and there was no one else around. I felt threatened, crowded, and annoyed that he was intruding on my space. When I half-turned in that direction, he still didn’t move, and I began to think he was getting off on the closeness. I also contemplated how his body language was enveloping, as if he were standing guard over me, fending others off. Then I felt heat emanating from his crotch on the back of my neck and head and wondered if this was my imagination. I continued to feel threatened but decided to stay with my feelings than run from them or try to frighten him off. What harm is he really doing, I asked myself. I should at least acknowledge he is responding to my femininity—which I was earlier so busily trying to enhance—and appreciate it.
Then his wife joined him. The heat at the back of my neck disappeared immediately and was replaced by a chill. His wife made some comment about this being like London and received no answer from him. Then there was a long, long silence. I began to think this intermission was lasting too long so escaped to the outside for air. They restarted the play without warning, and I was late getting back.