All of the Beautiful Colors
All of the beautiful colors are very, very meaningful.
The lights are white hot and when turned in my direction it isolates me from the swaying sea of faces before me. In that moment I am alone and while it is no struggle to display my talent I look upon my own hands and can not help consider how even though some things change, other things always remain the same. These are the same hands I have looked upon these many years, a critical element of my expression; they never fail me in getting into character. A character that is me…or was me once. I can easily put myself back in that place because it is not really so much of a stretch. I grip the microphone tighter with one hand and pull the other close to my breast with solid emotion and think on how it was before I made a name for myself. The fact that I can even say I have made a name for myself makes me clench my fist.
As I try to put something new of myself into all of this that is worn out from years and years of wearing, I find that the raw feeling is still strong and I get into my own head and dig deep to find that every word still holds meaning that rings true. Washington Square, Miami, Hollywood, California, and yes, even Omaha…somewhere in the middle of America. All are important and even more meaningful now that I am well traveled.
I reach the apex of this set and find my hands have discovered a life of their own as I have, once again, forgotten where I was and why I came. The lights are blue now and I look out among the sea and suddenly all the answers come rushing back at me. This is my life and now there are expectations that come with it that are difficult for me to overcome. Sometimes I think that this was never meant to be. I was never supposed to be here in the center of all of this and some twist of fate put me here, like someone was playing a joke on me that has now played out for way, way, way, to long.
This is my life, these are my hands, and this path that I am on is laid out in front of me from decisions I made years ago and yesterday. I focus in on one girl thoughtfully trying to sing along, but she struggles because of the changes I made to the arrangement. I wonder who she is here with and what her life might be like, so ordinary. Does she have a boyfriend or a lover? Would she be mine if I let her in my window? Would that be because of the novelty of it or would she desire to really know me for who I am and then would that be enough? Is she happy where she is sleeping; with her disposition in life or does she desire change? Change, change, change.
Do all these people really get all the meaning behind what happens on Saturday nights? All the things we do that we shouldn’t do, but what’s more, do they know how painful the process is on Sunday mornings? The begging for forgiveness, the repentance, the pain of living with and dealing with all those decisions. It’s not just a physical healing, it is spiritual and it is sometimes harder to be forgiven than to just go on pretending that it never really happened. The grey lights wash over me now in this slow moment. I have to slow it down to provide the contrast required to make this next statement. I hold the note a little longer to punctuate the meaning in it.
My hands are now trembling. Planned yet somehow involuntary. Suddenly I make the connection. What I have been thinking about with doing what you want to do…wanting it and doing it and having every other thing become somehow out of your control. It’s like a natural function of life. Involuntary but necessary. Maybe it is not as much like breathing as it would be like smelling a flower or slowing down when you pass a car crash. You just do it because it comes naturally and you can’t explain it. I raise my head to the red lights and I see her again…there is always something so pure about the way that light attaches to a girl.
I grip the microphone stand tighter thinking about what could be different and I feel a little saddened by the fact that I can’t talk to all these people. I will never know why they are here and what part of what I do has touched them the deepest. I admit openly that I’m not going to do a lot of talking because I need to finish my work and meaningful conversation declines in such large groups. I will never be alone with all these people around me but this life generates a different kind of lonely.
The sweat is pouring down the side of my face and down my back. This is the part that I can never get enough of. I’m overcome and would, if I could, go on and on, but I can feel the end is drawing near. I feel compelled to do something different, but now is not the time for making the next decision. I can legitimately do almost anything I want but am now acutely aware that consequence follows everything. I must consider what will change, where it might take me, expectation, unanswered questions, forgiveness, human nature, and the impact on everything and everyone around me. It is too much to bear at this moment and I just have to let all that go.
Again the emotion swells in my heart as I reach the end and I lift up the stand not only for dramatic effect but also to release the power in these words. As I slam it down to the stage, the lights fade to black.