By the time I could sneak into the shower without disturbing anyone on the second floor, I lost all my senses of time. It didn’t matter. Walking back to the room to check my watch, particularly around dead midnight, became too much of a hassle. So I kept going. Bathroom lights. Check. Steamy hot water. Check. Meditative mode. Check.
My laptop was now situated on my bed, patiently waiting for me to come back and look back at myriad of theater cheat sheets, Literature crib sheets (AP Literature was in 8 hours), and Latin notes (A test on fictional novel regarding Catilina’s conspiracy was in 13). Unlucky for him, and unusual for me, the shower lasted an hour, about a quarter of the time the Dress Rehearsal took. Dress rehearsal ended a few hours before, at around 9. 30.
9.30, the Green Room was drowned in shouts and screams and sighs of relief. That was all I could remember. Everything else, exhausted by everybody’s energy for four hours, seemed to have happened relatively too quickly. The extended warm-up, the scene changes, the three plays, all done.
Mr. Howard came in with a smile on his face, which was in and by itself a helluva blessing. But then out of the corner of my eye, there came something else that struck me even deeper, that clang upon my shoulder even until I was in the shower an hour and a half later. It was intriguing, really, to see frowns on the faces usually lit up by curves with concave up.
Some seemed to be saddened by the fact that this would be their last high school performance.
Some felt bad for the things that got messed up.
And I just sat there wondering if these hollow eyes of theirs, darting straight through nothingness, are parts of a never-ending cycle of restlessness that keeps spinning a sane man round, and if these eyes are the signifiers of so many downs that bring the human-voids shape up to a dark, dense, and desolate places.
Truth be told, the first half of my shower was boiled up with fears of emotional breakdown, fears that I would find no cure, no answer, no resolutions to that rich horror I encountered early in the night. What I did find, though, was that doing 12-count in the shower was the best idea that ever came across my mind. (I had a thing for that exercise, considering that too much tension, for whatever the reason, bottles up around my lower back.)
Before my body had any chance of becoming even more of a tangible, weighty, constricting disappointment, I found myself letting my fingers walk slowly on the shower floor. I felt loose. I felt droplets of water dripping into my nostrils. But I felt good. The fingers sprung into life. And I was planted there, sensing no incentives of stopping, but instead a tingling sensation in my lower back, a sudden urge to let out whatever bottled up there, my thoughts maybe, run wild and then huddle them all up into a paragraph or two as a token of gratitude to the eighteen souls that have been with me for the past few months. Things, after all, fall into place because these people can shoot with perfect aim.
It’s cool how there is a certain feeling of liberation that comes with the knowledge that you have done everything necessary to achieve something and now the final outcome depends upon variables you have no control over. So screw your pessimism, partner. Grab it by the neck. Kick it out of your system. Grab my hand. Look me in the eye. Let me tell you something.
We are cool.
And seniors, why can’t we feel like it’s not the last but the tenth to the last?
Departures are heart-breaking, true, but only if we believe them so. So screw your good-byes, gorgeous. Do an elaborated handshake with me. Look me in the eye. Let me tell you something.
I’ll see you later.
True, May has not been a kind month. Between wearing away the floor of my room with my incessant pacing and constantly checking the cheat sheet, fearfully ticking each day off, between your random outbursts of anger and uncalled-for containment of joy, time has both lingered on forever and rushed by impossibly fast. Now, though, we can let go. We can feel at peace,
“Because we are supposed to be here.”
And there is a certain groundless joy that I cannot help but welcome with open arms, when I know, and you know too, when all human resources have been exhausted for the cause as much as humanely possible. We’re making May awesome, partner. We’re making the show awesome. And it will last, partner. It will be our legacy. And it will last.
The lights went off. The shower went off. I snapped out of my session and walked out into the hallway. It was pitch black, and my eyes were darting straight through nothingness, seeing through, at last, the never-ending cycle of restlessness that spins sane man round ‘til he learns how to breathes fears like fire breathes air, and seeing through themselves as signifiers of the downs that are capable of bringing the marvel resided within the human shapes up to higher ground. #12counts.
Good night, global citizens. I’ll see you around.
by Hung Hoang, '13