by Nicholas Su
When the last act ended, the audience clapped, but I didnâ€™t. The red felt curtains swung closed as I stood still with my hands reaching out, watching the cool embrace of shadow on your pale cheeks until it was only your eyes that I could see. We looked across the stage at each other in the dark, as the applause trickled through the theater like rain falling on sleepy Sunday afternoons. I had my hands out open and the script folded up in the back left pocket of my jeans. Backstage, the lights were out; it was all dark but for the eyes.
I was trying to remember my next lines when I remembered that we were actors no more and the play was over. We were through with the scripted words and staged motions, but I wasnâ€™t convinced; I wanted the next lines, the ones written on the creases of your palms and the glimmer in your eyes so I could take you by the hand, look straight into your heart, and suddenly know who I was. The applause rained down on our shadowless figures and I wanted nothing more than to hold you tightly to my chest in the dark where the spotlight doesnâ€™t shine, where we become people in need and want of one another, where our thoughts are few and dreams transparent, where there is only light in the sensation of skin on skin, lips to lips, because we lost the rest of our words in the dark and we canâ€™t read our scripts anymore.
But then the lights came on and the curtains opened us to the thunder of applause rising out of the faceless crowd. We smiled and bowed as they tossed flowers, silently shouting “thank you, thank you, thank you.”