An ode to the stage, and a “thank you” to them


John Orr

A black and white photo of me delicately wrapped in blue green holding leftover pizza.

Once upon some interminable time, a stage was left empty. She wasn’t the only soul to strike the beautiful hardwood, however. She made friends with dainty dust bunnies that would sometimes escape their corners and play on the stage, leaving a trail of green glitter and the illusion of eternal vacancy and broken pinky promises. 

A stage with the meaning of millions remained a barren waste for months. Their souls once sat on the stage as if they were the only ones in the universe with grand importance. With visions of blinding overhead illumination and the delicate red velvet curtain, everything was divine in our simple senses.

The stage was a zone of familiarity and consolation for the two. We acted as one in the expansive reality of individuality and that was what we knew. One would go, the other would follow. If one fell, the other would race the slippery boards and catch. 

It was our shared solace that we had discovered, but I was the one who remained the last occupant of the esoteric platform. 

The ends of the wooden boards were lifting, exposing the sharp nails that frayed the red velvet. The audience was still nobody, but it was a black unknown to the wide color spectrum. Both the bottomless abyss and the stage were an eyesore to those who stumbled across, but they’d never stay long, of course, they were only there to see us two, not the remainder of a blissful connection. 

It was our shared solace that we had discovered, but I was the one who remained the last occupant of the esoteric platform. ”

To her, this was her home. She could never fully settle down in the theater, but not for a second did she ever consider leaving the vicinity that housed their last performance. There she lay in the center of the stage. Her frail bones crumble a little more each day and fail to get her balanced and upright. Her head was oversized and full of thoughts and memories; soon, those memories returned before she knew.

If Hope ever heard her violent cries and muttered shrieks, she would forever thrive in the theater for them and for her, and if there was ever a return to the stage, her soul would be waiting. 

Well, Hope heard all the piercing shrieks and ungodly howls, but like magic, the soul who was carried away by life’s escapade appeared on the side of the stage. 

I knew one day our departure would be no longer—one day. One day, the stage would no longer be her, the dust bunnies, and the unsettling dim of broken fluorescents. The seemingly endless pit of pandemonium that was the seats will be filled with our closest friends, sharing the same laughter we did and dynamic memories that dance in our pretty little heads. 

The return is now, forever, and our duality of souls are no longer split. The radiance reflects off her deep aegean eyes with slits of jade and into the crowd that was also met with their muted blue eyes like stone. 

As the days of FaceTime calls, boba runs, and late-night Culver’s trips blend into perfect memories, I’ll remember how I waited for my soul to once be re-energized. If I never waited for their return, who knows what the end of this would look like, nor do I want to know.