Sunday, November 21, 2004

requiem for a nightmare

Around two o'clock, I find myself in a town about an hour south of here, ensconced in a not-so-comfortable theatre chair, a little jittery with anticipation. The orchestra files out onstage, sans concertmaster, and the choir floods out and claims the risers. Lights dimming, conversation in the auditorium dropps off to a trickle. From the very first swipe of the director’s baton, the beginning strains of the Introit and Kyrie rolling over the audience to fill every corner of the auditorium, I have severe goosebumps. There's always been something about Mozart's Requiem (his last piece, not even finished before he died in 1791) that overwhelms me. It's so dark, so deep, so amazingly powerful. I feel dwarfed by its presence; it makes my forearms prickle, chills zip up my spine, and tears fall down my face.

. . .
(change of tenses inevitable)
. . .
Later, I was on my way home and turned on the radio to the sound of the ancient newscaster's drone -- he always sounds slightly mechanical, and his voice didn't sound any different today, delivering the newsflash. About forty minutes from where I live, a guy in camo with a rifle was traveling around on an ATV, SHOOTING HUNTERS. He killed five and injured three more. I totally freaked out. I thought my theatre god was hunting in those woods today, and I felt like I was going to throw up. I text-messaged him (O, CRUEL ADDICTION!) and felt sick until twenty minutes later when I got a call. He's safe, and I'll see him tomorrow. I hadn't been that worried about anything for a long time...anything real, that is. I worry about tests and projects and trivial stuff all the time, but this was something so much more important...a life. the life of a human being to whom I'm close. During those 20 minutes, my mind raced and acted out many scenarios. I wondered what it'd be like if he had been shot. What would I do? Would I still take my French test tomorrow, or would I be in the downstairs lounge at the student center, wrapped in a blanket and crying my eyes out? Would people leave me to mourn alone, would they understand my grief, or would I go nothing? What would his family do...his father...his older brother...his 90 year-old grandmother? He is just one human, but he has touched so many people. If something happened to him, who would I sit by in theatre class? Who would wink at me after every test? Who would gloat over beating me at my own game? Who would leave stuff on my windshield for me when I've had a long day? Who would go for walks with me and laugh at the cold nika who's wearing his jacket that completely engulfs her body all the way down to her fingertips?

I don't know. And now, I'm relieved I don't have to figure it out.

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