I remember the exact moment when my passion for living things began. I had just performed a one-person show of ‘Bats’, the Andrea Lewis-Webster musical about a bunch of lowlifes who get together in an alleyway and discuss politics and have dance battles. Naturally, I portrayed every part by myself, because early in my career I may have gone a little bit too far in trying to prove myself and how unique I was as a performer. As a result, the performance was extended to seven hours. However, I remember standing on stage at the end, feet bleeding, eyes barely open, hushing the voices in my head so that i could hear the crowd roar. Piles of iceberg roses were building up on the stage, tokens of adoration for what I had done, and as I gathered them in my arms, I began to cry. My knees were failing, but more than that, I was so very happy. Forever, these roses were the symbol of my achievement, and how I would always be remembered.
I collapsed after that from exhaustion. Perhaps the 72-hour nonstop back-to-back performances had something to do with it. I awoke to find all my iceberg roses gone. They had been a hallucination. The only person still left in the auditorium was the lighting guy, who had fallen asleep at his desk long ago and no one wanted to disturb him as he left for the night. Fortunately they discovered me passed out the next morning, but I was devastated to find all my roses gone. No one had thrown me anything, not so much as a handful of daffodil bulbs so that I could begin to grow something of my own. Hurling bulbs is probably a bad idea in a theatre anyway.
But from that day, I resolved to find as many tulip bulbs for sale as I could, as many hyacinth bulbs, and daffodils…and roses. One day, I would hold them in my arms once more, for real.