Not ever, not once, Shaz, not since time began has there been someone who’s actually made the kind of choices you’ve consistently made, year after year, your whole life long, in spite of fleeting fears, lingering doubts and moments of despair.
Jolly good show,
Packing up is the scary part. Deciding what to toss, what to take and what to pack away –which clothes can I really make the most of for the next six months?? Keep it casual (okay one little black dress to celebrate the holidays and my birthday).
Deep breathe: throw some things away, store most and take just enough to fit in one large suitcase and one smaller one. “My office” in my carry-on … and snacks … I always pack snacks.
Just say “no, I can’t [make it to this meeting … see that showcase … meet uptown for coffee"]. Almost fun, saying “no.”
Wind down. I feel the rush of people zeroing in for final conversations, i.e. a gal who heard me guest lecture at a college downtown told me she was using my Broadway musical as a theme project for her students asking if I’d mentor her when I get back … Writers, actors, directors … all wanting to stay connected/not lose me. Crazy flattering. My gal pals are downloading Skype.
Although he hasn’t bought his plane ticket yet, Bond, James, is planning on joining me for the holidays in Paris and flying on to Tel-Aviv with me to celebrate my birthday… I’m not yet confirmed on the Kibbutz (a winery) but he’d like to stay a few weeks with me there as well. Other friends are talking about meeting me here or there along the way … would I mind if they do??
They may . . . or not. We make no promises. The world is my stage – at last and the present is carrying me to my future without expectation, without boundaries. Unscripted. I have a plane ticket to Paris and another from Paris to Tel-Aviv six weeks later –that’s all I know now . . . When you step in a crevasse a boulder will appear underneath you – or you’ll grow wings… I’m testing that theory.
My youngest talked to me for an hour on the phone this morning (a first). My grandsons are coming down from Boston with their parents for a farewell to Bubby this weekend — I flew to LA for a table read of my next play and a few hours with my son. My oldest called this morning to schedule a “long talk” before I take off … There’s a black-tie event — and a groupie send-off from my buds … With five days left on this side of the Atlantic, it’s all about saying “good-bye.”
Which I did, to the other men who have guided my journey this past year: Doc called … he’s moving again – from Texas to Montana. “No pressure coming to NYC for the Opening of Time Stands Still.” I told him. I like him; he’s a fun, terrific guy so I suggested “if appropriate, we can pick up where we left off when I get back”… he concurred.
As for mon Surfer Dude, I spent an evening last month with a woman I met through him, a colleague of his, who glowed as she confided that he spent a week with her in July; she was surprised he hadn’t told me … They are in constant contact, she added, with a “shared love of music” and “a lot of i-Tunes exchanged via email.” He never did mention staying with her; in fact, he told me he was with family in DC –and she had no idea he went from her place, to mine. He didn’t do anything wrong: he had fun when he was with her and fun when he was with me … but I’m not crazy about intimate triangles so I sent him an email later that evening that began with “C’est fini” and ended with “Ciao.”
And finally, I called the 8-year-on-again-off-again-BF-from-out-of-town the other night and we talked for the first time since I gave him the boot in March. Cleaning out my storage locker I found a suitcase with some of his clothes in it and burning them in effigy is not my style … He told me I was “the love of his life.” “Love and joy is all I want now,” he said, humbled by a recent bout with prostate cancer, “that’s what you’re doing.” We talked a long time, laughed a lot and tried not to play the blame game… He wished me happiness as we hung up — and I, somewhat mellowed by the ease of conversation and comforted by the sound of his voice, wondered how you leave “the love of your life” just like that … But he did.
So, I’m turning my back on all that emotion and focusing on how much space there really is in two suitcases and a roll-a-board. Packing up “things” to get me through six months on the road.
For my body:
- I’m laying out the clothes most likely to accompany me; mixing and matching, paring it down
- An iPod filled with songs I’ve played over and over again this past year, waking up alone, dancing in my kitchen or as background at parties (much to my friends’ chagrin) –Showtunes from musicals that were, musicals that are and Broadway musicals that might be someday (the latter composed by many new friends).
- Photos from the last 12 months downloaded on to my new iPad.
- My mother’s necklace.
- My daddy’s shirt.
- The Tiffany watch my children gave me for my 50th birthday.
- And Froggie… can’t travel without Froggie.
Pausing for a memory flash: 1969 when I left Germany after living there as an exchange student … over 50 schoolmates surprised me at the train station with a large banner made from a sheet: AUF WIEDERSEHEN SHAZ in huge letters… each of the boys, first generation born post WWII, holding a long stemmed red rose … eyes welled and hearts swelled as this young Jewish girl made her way down their impromptu receiving line, saying good-bye to each of them in turn … my “German parents” watching, in awe.
Tears streamed down my cheeks as the train pulled out of the station, taking me back to NY and the life I was yet to live. A kind stranger who observed that final scene, leaned over to me and remarked, “how lucky you are to be feeling so deeply for all those people you wouldn’t have known had you not been there.”
And here I am again, decades later, that same inner child seeking adventure. Auf Wiedersehen. Au Revior. Until we meet again.
NOTE TO SELF: Bring tissues.