Today my play opens.
You never missed any of my plays. Even after you got in to law school and your schedule made it impossible for you. You made sure you saw each of them. Even after we broke up, you still managed to attend my last two plays.
By then, you already mastered your role in my rehearsal set. You sat quietly in a corner, reading your law books. After a run, I’d ask you what you thought of it, and you’d give your honest opinion. I never told you, so I tell you now, that yours was the only opinion that mattered to me. I never took my critics’ notes on preview nights seriously (Except maybe from my mentors and selected peers) mostly because they always tell me what I already know—technical glitches, poor projection, missed timing in cues, etc. You, on the other hand, tell me something that I have not seen. I only realize now that this was your way of dealing with your jealousy. Instead of fighting for attention, you help me perfect my art. You gave me up to it unconditionally.
I remember our first date. I was rehearsing my comeback play. I took a hiatus from theater for four years because I mixed up my personal life with my art. And after years of reflection and recovering my craft, I go back to theater. We only met a couple of days before that rehearsal. You texted me, asking me if you could drop by to watch. I never allowed my actors to let guests watch my rehearsals so I told you not to. But you said you were already outside the theater. I didn’t have much of a choice. After rehearsals, you kidnapped me and took me out. I was so confused and fascinated at the same time. I wasn’t sure, but something told me you liked me a lot. Because I never met a woman who was so sure about what she wanted. You went into my sanctuary—the theater—and swept me away. I was like a king check-mated right behind my army of pawns, knights, bishops and rooks.
Our entire relationship was a variation of that first date. You were always stealing me from my work. And I found it disconcerting. No, I did not resent you stealing me away from my fortress of solitude. I did not resent you kidnapping me from my workshop. I was disturbed that I was enjoying our moments together too much. I could not let it happen. Not when I was just recovering from a long deprivation of art. Not when I was just regaining my confidence as an artist. Not when I was just learning to separate the beauty of reality from the beauty of art. And so I resisted. But you were relentless. You would not give up. You would show me that it was possible for me to have both you and my art.
It was a long struggle. Our entire relationship was spent with you competing for my attention from my art. You could not understand at first why I was obsessed with theater and with writing. You were a writer too. You were so much better than me, in fact, in composing prose. And when you told me, on the day that we broke up, that you gave up writing so you could support my obsession, I felt guilty. I felt I did not deserve you. You deserved better. I should have been there to support your art the way you supported mine.
Today my play opens.
My play opens on the theater where you first stole me away. It is also, the same annual university production where you first witnessed me drunk and so passionately high with my craft. The first time you came, I was doing a tragic-romantic-comedy, where my two protagonists, did not end up together. Now, I am doing a comedy, where every couple ends up together.
It’s a few minutes before the house opens.
I am not expecting you to be here to watch.