The Finale

29 Mar

The house sat on a hill surrounded by lush, coastal foliage. You could see the ocean from the back deck. An open floor plan let in all the light, the kitchen white and modern like in a magazine. But the house itself was small, a rental for their stint in town away from the city. Being who they were, creative types with an endless stream of flowing ideas, they decided they needed a theater for the people, so they built collapsable risers in their garage.

I went for a visit to get away from the shit cold garbage weather that is the midwest in March, when it’s supposed to be spring but every other day it rain-snows and melts, leaving slushy puddles of mud and exposed garbage piles all over the place. Every year I’m ready to move away until the summer comes, when I then try to convince everyone else to move here because it’s so beautiful. She was giving me a tour of the house. When we got to the garage she said, “you’re really going to like this.”

At first, it was like any other dingy garage, though it was the biggest garage I’d ever seen. She said, “close the door behind you and pull that latch.” I pulled the latch and everything changed. Like that moment in The Wizard of Oz when it goes from black and white to technicolor. Theater lights, blue, red, yellow, green, all lit up around the ceiling. “Now push that button,” she said. I pushed. The metal risers emerged slowly from the back wall, unfolding like an accordion, steady and humming. I found myself sitting at the top at the top as they shifted and unfolded, a carnival ride. “Tada,” she said. “Now we have a theater.” She was smiling so big, like there was nothing left to do in the world. Like she had arrived in her moment, entered into her actual life. I said this a few years ago about my own life. I have arrived. It was after my book got published. And then all the hubbub faded away and I realized I had to write another book if I wanted to stay arrived. I realized I had arrived in a moment, not into the finale of my life. I wanted to tell her. But then I thought, who am I to put a pin in her giant theater bubble. I said, “this is awesome.” She smiled bigger, and I was so happy to be in Santa Barbara.


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