I was sitting in Starbucks, downing an orange juice and water while checking my email and thinking about the day to come.
He walked in, an acquaintance from the past, from that part of my life that was full of kids and Nutcracker rehearsal and makeup and costumes and Happy Meals and hours spent out in the house watching dress rehearsals. It was a good time, a time that revolved around the kids and their activities. Any parent will know exactly what I mean. A frantic, chaotic, bustling, crazy time that bleeds into holiday time until the boundary between one and the other is no longer distinguishable.
He has worked tech at the theater for many years, in the back of the house, on the big board, or backstage, or elsewhere in the cavernous building doing things that the folks who make a theater hum in the background, out of the spotlight, do.
We exchanged pleasantries. How’s the family? Kids?
All successful, yes, in Spartanburg and Chattanooga and Denver, thanks for asking.
Upcoming holiday? What show are you doing now? Oh, yes, A Christmas Carol, then another Nutcracker, and of course The Roar of Love in the Bell and the…
So many shows, so much work, so much fun for those who perform and for those of us who have watched the final product over the years.
We talked. I sipped. He waited for his order at the bar.
And then he asked me a question that I was not prepared for.
“And have you found happiness for yourself yet?”
It took me aback. It really did.
My OJ-fueled mind, clicking along quite well now that glucose levels were high and attention was sharp, had to do a double take. Had to really think about this question that had no ready, reflexive answer.
“Yes, yes I have,” I answered after a split-second hesitation that was more a product of surprise than lack of an answer.
“Yes, thanks. I am happy.”
“Good,” he answered. “I’m glad.” Smiling. Turning to get his coffee from the barista.
“Good to see you.”
“Nice to see you again, too.”
“Have a good Christmas.”
What a good feeling at this time of the year, so filled with laughter and light and joy.
Yes, I am happy.
I hope, dear readers, that you are too.