Midvale School for the Gifted Alumni Association

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What Is And What Shall Never Be

Today, I went to see the local high school's production of Sweeney Todd. As a school committee member, I have a ticket to all the productions our theater department puts on, and I finally decided to take up that complementary ticket. Sweeney's a great show, and I had been hearing wonderful things about the production, including the young actress playing Mrs. Lovett. She was a big part of the reason I decided to attend.

In my other life, I was married to this young woman's uncle, Kevin. Early in our courtship, I was invited to attend her christening. Of all of his brothers and sisters, I had the best relationship with her mom and dad. Her dad and I often joked that we were the "outlaws", rather than inlaws, and genuinely enjoyed one another. I suppose, beside from Kevin, my departure from the family hurt them deeply. I'm sure it did. Over the years, that wound has healed, to a point, and when I've seen my former brother-in-law around town, we've been able to have cordial conversations. I saw him most recently on Primary Day, as I was holding a sign for a state senate candidate, and we had a long chat, where he caught me up on all the family gossip, and told me that his daughter had the lead in Sweeney Todd. He hoped I would try and catch it.

So, I did. And she was wonderful. She has a lovely singing voice, and really brought that character to life. I'll admit, I chuckled to myself at the thought of her playing a deranged woman who made "meat" pies (her grandmother, my former mother-in-law, she and I never really saw eye to eye, we'll say, made meat pies at the holidays), but I was so impressed with the young woman she's become, as I was equally impressed watching her brother graduate this year, from my post on the stage at the high school graduation ceremony. Their parents are clearly, and rightfully, quite proud of both of them. And, I was a little wistful watching her sing.

I lingered at the end to congratulate some of the other students in the performance, and I walked up to her and introduced myself simply as Courtney from the School Committee, and praised her performance. I have no idea if she has any recollection of me; likely not, and it was not the moment to bring that up in any way. I'm not sure if her parents will remind her; also likely not. But the wistful came from knowing that I once had the chance to watch this little girl become this talented young actress. Which is not to say, at all, that I'm wishing I were still married; that's not it. But it is acknowledging what I lost, and what could have been. I don't regret much about the life I gave up so many years ago, but today, I had a little regret about this lost connection, the girl, her brother, their parents.

Sometimes, the past comes back to say hello, to assert itself back into your memory, and your consciousness of how different your life could have been, "if only this", or "if only that". Even good decisions have a flip side, just like everything standing in the sun has a shadow, too.

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Anonymous amy g said...

Your last statement/paragraph is lovely and quite poignant.

8:34 AM  

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Midvale School For the Gifted

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    "So I walk like I'm on a mission, 'cuz that's the way I groove. I've got more and more to do, I've got less and less to prove. It took me too long to realize that I don't take good pictures 'cuz I have the kind of beauty that moves..." Ani D.
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