Business began at Storefront Theater with daily gatherings to write music and a script about energy conservation. I became the Energy God Mother on roller skates, and propelled myself across countless school auditoriums teaching children how to conserve energy so they could, have a brighter tomorrow. I also made a special guest appearance near the end of the show as a pink satin washing machine. Not the career in opera I had trained for, but I was having fun.
Unfortunately, I developed a terrific crush on Charles, the piano player. Men were the ones to make advances in my world, like the wedding proposal I received from a complete stranger between shows in Alaska, so I had no skill for initiating. When the time came to speak to Charles about anything but work, I was silent, tongue-tied, frozen.
Did you want something, he’d ask?
No, no, I’d lie, as I disappeared quickly behind the stage. Just wanted to say you played well.
Finally I’d had enough. I was standing in the lower hallway after rehearsal and saw Charles making his way to the elevator. Do it, I told myself. For God sake put an end to this and ask him. Ask him what? I couldn’t remember. He was getting closer to the elevator, running for it. Each step brought him nearer. If I didn’t speak he would run right past. I had to do it. It was now or never. I would not let him go by without settling this. It was essential I speak, but nothing was coming out of my mouth. He was getting away. I couldn’t let it happen.
In frustration I reached out and grabbed his belt loop. He kept going, never even slowed down as it ripped completely off his pants. He heard the rip, felt the tug. He ran to the elevator, leaned against the back wall, looked down at his torn pants and out at me. There I stood with dazed eyes, his belt loop wrapped around my finger, long threads dangling in space. He gave me a look that said, oh my God, it’s you. I should have known. I winced, sorry Charles, sorry.
We worked together for the next six months, and neither of us mentioned the belt loop incident. Charles fell in love with another woman, which was just as well. I’d decided I wasn’t in love with him after all. It was just too darned hard.