“All The World’s A Stage”
The funny part about Saturday morning ballet?
Not the pink stretch of leotards.
Not the lobby antics of children just emerging toddlerhood.
Not the eleventh hour rush to the bathroom necessitating the peeling off of pink leotards, despite the sincere queries in advance designed to avoid such calamity
But, rather the stories . The stories from oversharing mothers.
An inescapable drone.
Not the ones that prattle on about their exceptional children.
No, in fact, the blessed mothers who prattle on about themselves, and regard all within earshot as caring listeners.
Which we are clearly not.
A truly captive audience.
For instance, on this particular morning, the performance (and it is a performance) entails a detailed account of living life with the affliction of rosacea.
Too much information is an understatement.
Everything from checking account balance, to birth control status, to dietary habits, to carnal preferences that cause flare ups of said condition.
The collective we, know more about this woman than ancestry.com
And being captive, I became a sponge and absorbed it.
Then, somewhere between Pliés and Tendus, she took a breath, and I experienced her face in vulnerability.
The veil had been lifted, and I saw her for the first time.
Her voice lost its droning tone, and I heard between the lines.
I can’t speak for the collective we, but I heard an isolation of loneliness on the edges.
A loneliness that made me lonely as well.
I wondered if she had a best friend, or if her husband listened at all.
Did he throw in the towel and busy himself with other things?
I learned more than I care to know about rosacea.
And about a great many things of which I did not know about someone I didn’t know well at all.
And as I drifted from being present back into the fold of the group,
I became complacent within myself, and heard the drone again.
The doors opened, our kids came out.
We dressed them and then headed for the exit.
I saw the woman and her daughter at the elevator waiting area.
I smiled as warmly as I could.
She held her daughter’s hand for life.
There were tears at the back of her eyes.
You never know how hard living lonely lonesome can be until you walk a mile in someone else’s ballet slippers.