Sunday, November 2, 2008

bye bye bye

        And I thought yesterday was hard.  

        Funny how the present always feels like the worst, when really the worst might be just around the corner, or in this case, the uh, next day.  Because that's when you perform the last show with the original company. Or at least, that is what happened today.  

       It started early, actually.  Jay scheduled a brunch for the whole cast at this kitschy little diner that's been around since the mid 1800's, so we met there around 11:00 am.  On the way over, I shared with a couple friends how I started crying the night before when I saw John take his shirt off off stage and they thought that was really funny.  So once we got to the diner and John walked over to say a friendly hello, Ian innocently told me to tell John about the impetus for my tears the night before.  

     I started to tell the story, but then my throat just closed up.  I couldn't talk anymore.  I sat there, amid all the breakfast eaters and surrounded by friends, staring at John and starting to cry.  I did manage to say, I can't tell the between sniffs and attempts at composure.
     Of course John hugged me and called me a sweetheart and of course others tried to tell me to cheer up.  But the truth is today was not a day for cheer; it's sad and it's okay to acknowledge it.  

    So through the whole breakfast I was just eating my french toast (which I devoured, practically leaving the plate clean and saving the dish washer a rinse and dry cycle) and crying.  My friends got used to it.  And each time another person got added to the mix, someone would inevitably say, Be careful how you drink your orange juice; it might make Jessica cry.  Or Don't ask her to tell a story about John taking his shirt off; it will make Jessica cry...

    I continued to be all weepy while warming up.  I applied make-up over wet, teary cheeks.  But I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, I was getting all the emotion out now, so that when I go on stage I can, you know, do my job and not be a basket case.

    Good idea.  Great idea.  Didn't happen.

    I hold hands with Jay (who is leaving) to walk onto the dark stage and set for the top of the show.  We grabbed hands and both began to cry. We were sniffling as we walked onto the stage.  My face was hurting during the opening because I was trying to compose it...

    I kept thinking I would stop crying, that there has got to be a point when the tears run out, but no. Because then I would see John or catch Jay's eye or think about Emily and my insides would just melt all over again.  Oh, and you don't even want to know how much snot was flinging out of my nose during any turns that I did. It wasn't so pretty, folks.

    I can only imagine what the audience was thinking.  Either they took us to be some of the most melodramatic, over-the-top actors on the face of the earth (you know, just sobbing cause we need the job so badly--how's that for an acting choice?!), or they figured that someone very close to us had dropped dead right at the places call.  

   How did I manage to get it together for my monologue and song?  Easy.  I thought about some rude comments that an anonymous poster has been leaving on this blog.  Don't try looking for them because I deleted them, which I shall continue to do should they keep coming, but as I thought of them, I got mad and the tears instantly dried up.  

   But only for the duration of my scene with Al.  Because right after, the waterworks started again...

   By the last scene literally all of us were crying on stage.  We were wiping our eyes and noses, and had become a nice little bunch of puffy-faced hot messes.  Poor Colt sits beside me as I stand at the end of the show, and I made the mistake of lowering my gaze and simultaneously succeeded in dripping snot all over him.  

  Nice guy, he only gave me a squeeze and smiled.  He didn't even wipe it off.   

   I have never felt this way about a group of people I have worked with before. I am exponentially blessed to have been a part of this company, and for that I am truly grateful.  

   We had a send-off party tonight and there were quite a few toasts given.  Almost all were heartfelt and transparent, filling our hearts with words of love and honor and devotion to our craft as well as to our friendships.  

  I had just a small toast to add once the weighty moments had passed, so I raised my glass and said, To Cleveland! Since I am so obviously Cleveland's favorite person, I felt like it was appropriate.  And well, we laughed.  

   Tomorrow is a much needed day off.  I have no definite plans as of yet--other than not setting my alarm and definitely working on my music...Oh and not crying, which after today, seems like a novel idea.  I think the five hours or so I spent crying today should have me set for a good long while...


kathiek said...

What a blessing to have had such people to work with, Jess! I imagine that is not the norm, to connect so completely with people in such a relatively short time.

I also can only imagine how difficult it must be to be the replacements, coming into a cast that was so tightly-knit. I hope the transition goes smoothly and the new people are able to feel comfortable.

semi anonymous said...

What a sad sweet story, and I'm ashamed to say I laughed so hard when you were describing the booger rain, that I cried myself, but in an inappropriate way. I really hate goodbyes too, because before I read your post I thought I was the only person who thinks that unhappiness is not necessarily an unsuitable response, and that there's nothing wrong with being honest about it. Some people are just uncomfortable with expressing emotion and do mean things like make jokes that make it worse. But blogging is a nice helpful outlet, don't you think? Nasty anonymous comments notwithstanding - it's probably why I've been too chicken to go public with my own blog yet. But this story you've written is a lovely tribute to all the people that had difficulties with goodbyes, now they know how you feel about them and they don't have to face it at the same time. And you have a way to tell them how you feel, with being able to finish it. I would love to know that my friends feel this way about me; they probably do, but having it in writing is really nice.

Mom said...

Hey, Jess....your blog today reminds me of your song that talks about that "it's alright that I'm not happy."

And it is alright to be sad rather than stoic and your tears are such a wonderful tribute to the friends that are leaving.

I hope that among the replacements you will find some wonderful friendships also.

Nina said...

It must be hard to say good-bye to people who you not only admire and enjoy but who you've worked with creatively in such an intensive situation...I hope the new cast members fit in quickly and you develop wonderful new friendships.

Sorry about your obnoxious commenter. What's up with that?!

Jessica Latshaw said...

thanks so much for your comments!

the nice part about this sadness is that it really confirmed to me that I did the right thing in signing on for another six months. Those of us who are staying would just look at each other and tell each other how grateful we are that we are still here...

It's a relief to know that I have peace about being here, still.

And yes, S-A, it is absolutely okay to be sad about saying good-bye (not sure how okay it is to snot all over someone, but oh well...)

And kathie--this group of people in the original cast was out of the norm! In a good way;-)

And mom--I haven't thought about that song for a while...;-)

And Nina--the internet can be such a weird place in that, if you choose, you can have no accountability for your words and that makes the worst come out in some people, unfortunately.

K-Ro! said...

hey girl, I don't think I' ve ever seen you cry :) I'm glad you met such great people and hopefully you'll get to work with them again one day. Did they decide to leave for other opportunities? Or do you have the choice of leaving after a period of time?
Hope you make new friends with the newbies and they'll bring a lot of new excitement and energy to the show :)

Jessica Latshaw said...

hey Kristen! I know--usually I just peace out, right?:-)

We were offered contract renewals and some chose to accept and some chose to go back to the city--all for different reasons.

Already the new guys seem really cool--I am sure they will be great!

merry said...

I hate saying goodbye to people that I have become so attached to. I remember that there were some people at YWAM that it just broke my heart to leave. I think it was because it was such a hard thing to leave the people I loved most at home and they made my experience so much better and really became my family away from my family.Hopefully you will stay in contact with them and the new people will be awesome too. Also, I love you.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Yeah, Mer--I think that is part of it; it's so hard to be away from your loved ones to begin with, but then you do form a sort of family within this group, so saying good-bye is just terrible.

thanks for understanding;-)

erin said...

Jess! I'm sorry this is a hard time for you. I hate saying goodbye to people. And these peoples have been your family these last several months. Are you all staying in touch?
I miss and love you, and really enjoy all of your blogs! And your abs are smokin' in your Robin (Girl) costume!!! :)

Jessica Latshaw said...

haha thanks for the compliment, erin!!! And yes, I am def keeping touch with some of them, for sure;-)

I miss you so much!!!