I was not actually cool enough to be deep into the Stones at 15, but it is remarkably difficult to find songs that fit the halcyon days of this relationship. Most of my archive suits and comes from the aftermath. But Mick always knows what I am thinking so the Stones get the nod. Cue the Music and Go! Let’s Spend The Night Together
Kim and I became friends and then closer friends during this production. Already I was hooked on her. Man did she light up a room. I don’t think it was just me either – I think many people responded similarly. She made me feel special, important, valuable, valued, and a little bit sexy. I did not exactly have ego or confidence issues, but external validation of your own greatness is always empowering. I have had way more relationships that were severely lacking in validation and Kim and I were not even dating.
As we neared the end of preparation and the performance grew closer, I started talking with Kim about how complicated and overwhelming and confusing it was to be killing myself at all – and so often. Was there a way to stay true to your character, to stay in character, but hold some small part of you separate and away from the motivations and emotions that lead one to suicide? I was not and have never been suicidal. Even in my darkest times I can always find something worth living for; dogs, the next season of Buffy or Friday Night Lights, the next release of a favorite author – I’m easy. However, I am a ninth degree black-belt ninja at nesting in pain. All that said, committing suicide onstage repeatedly was an extremely difficult situation to be in.
She had some very valuable insight about the craft of acting and the difference between character and self. After the show wrapped, we had some similar long talks about the other death, the death of the part of yourself that you gave to the character to allow them to become real. With the performance over, so too ended that little piece of you. This was a problem that Kim had not really solved for herself either, though she had been through it many times. It was fantastic to have someone to talk with about it who understood, who respected my sincerity of feeling and did not look on such things as attention grabbing or ego inflating.
Don’t let these descriptions of serious heady talk give you the wrong idea. She was unbelievably gorgeous and I wanted…well if you followed the musical link above Mick Jagger has said that pretty well already. I can’t speak for ALL theaters or everyone involved in my high school theatre department, but I can safely say that for a lot of us, the theatre was charged with passion, romance, and sex. My favorite thing was having people try to make fun of me for being in theatre. “Drama fag,” they might say. “I spend most of my free time in the dark with about 50 girls, what do you do?”
Kim and I were not remotely immune to these feelings. At the time of this production, she was dating someone else, but the passion and tension between us was thick and generally thickest in the theatre. We each got so jazzed from performing and in very similar ways that the taboo and flat out wrongness of indulging what we were feeling made it even more intense – Blissful Anticipation.
We did finally kiss one night. I can’t pinpoint the date without re-reading my old journals, but I would bet that it was one performance night, the 15th, 16th or 17th of November, 1990. It was in my driveway and it seemed to last forever in the best way possible. It had everything. It started with wild abandon, teeth knocking, lip sucking, recently freed caged-animal frenzy. But it did mellow and become far more sensual and dare I say it, luxuriant. Somehow it eventually ended. I lived lifetimes in that kiss. I can still go back to that moment in my mind and revel in that kiss. It was not my first kiss by far, but it was certainly the best I had ever had and not too many since have been its equal, or even in its neighborhood. There was only one down-side. I had been involved in an incident of oath breaking, of cheating on someone. I was not always the best guy in the world, particularly to the ladies, but cheating is not on my menu and I felt and still feel bad that while it was not my oath broken, I was for that moment, “the other guy”. Sorry dude.