Last Fall, I tried out for a student production of a play at Jonathan Edwards, one of the residence colleges. See at Yale, they group the dorms into "colleges," walled, gated compounds turning their backs to the outside world, perfect wombs for growing loyal alumni who'll fork over big bucks later hoping to get their own spawn admitted. Morse-Stiles where S. lived is the one modern dorm complex on campus-- modern and UGLY. I've seen better-looking Holiday Inns. Anyway, I'd never been in a play before. My chorus teacher senior year suggested I try out for a part in "The Bells Are Ringing," but my father was in a bad mood that night at dinner when I told my parents about it, and he made fun of the idea. That was the end of "The Bells Are Ringing."
I picked a goofy choice for a first-time play, too: Pirandello's Right You Are If You Think You Are, a weird modern play with all kinds of weirder associations. I didn't care. I'd read about the auditions in the Yale Daily News, and tried out and got a part! I was excited and nervous and thoroughly entranced. At least it would take my mind off Manuscripts. I enjoyed the whole experience on many levels besides; for one thing, it meant no time to fix dinners and my evenings were taken up with rehearsals (no time to be bored and restless).
One of the other women in the cast was so pretty and glamorous-- of course she knew it and flaunted her looks all over the place-- so much so, the rest of the cast and crew called her "The Mirror," because she was always combing her hair or checking out her make-up. At one rehearsal, she and I were sitting off by ourselves waiting for our scene. I was on the edge of a prop crate, she was above me perched on a step ladder, combing her long hair with her hands, dangling it against my cheek.
"I felt a shiver go right down into my, well, crotch." I felt bold saying that word in front of him, too. Sigh, I guess I am provocative.
"Hmmm, I'd like to have seen THAT."
"My crotch, or her and me?" I shot back.
"Well, it would be ungentlemanly of me to say anything more than 'the two of you together,' though that's a fairly roguish idea in its own right, if I may say so."
I'm sure Carol (that was the woman's name) knew her hair was brushing against my face, and it infuriated me her playing the tease that way. I kept wishing I had the guts to stand up and kiss her right on the mouth. I kept daring myself every time the hair brushed along my face, and Carol kept letting it brush against me until finally, I don't know if it was my dare to myself, being pissed off at her goading me that way, or what, but I really did stand up, kissed her hard on the mouth.
"She jumped like I'd shoved an electric cord up her ass, fell right off the ladder and burst into tears. I turned around and walked away."
I was getting so cold I was shivering, my teeth chattered enough to make me mangle my words, so we went inside and slogged away some more on the typing. Afterward, if S. ever wanted to tease or tweak me, he'd pretend to brush long hair or make a kissing gesture with his hand. I'd simply smile. I didn't tell him just then about Alex.
(End of Chapter 12)