Monday, June 7, 2010
Truths in Times Square
"Strong, strength," his big voice boomed out at me. It's hard to be heard in the middle of Times Square, but he managed.
I smiled at him, looked down at my tickets. "Not the play," he said, "you."
I laughed. "Hey, thanks!" I said. See, I thought, I should never wear short dresses into Manhattan. But I very obviously like talking to strangers, like to draw them near, to hear what they have to say, so attention is not all bad. Here, I had found my angel, someone who could see my strength (even if he was just judging it by my legs.)
We chatted about the theater. I was going to see Red, John Logan's play about the artist Mark Rothko.
He shook his head, "You should see Race," he said, referring to the David Mamet play, the second on my husband's list.
"Really?" I said, "Is it great?"
He leaned in conspiratorily. "I heard it is...that the performances are great, that it really gives a perspective on both sides."
"See, that's the problem," I said, "the reason I didn't buy tickets to something about race...I'm skeptical. I think it's really hard for people to be honest about these things. It would have to be incredibly well done to offer anything new."
He nodded in agreement. "But I heard it's good."
"Good to know...too bad I already bought these," I said. "So many plays to see, not enough money, not enough time..."
He smiled. "You have time," he said. "You're going to be around a long time," he predicted.
I laughed. "You think so?"
He nodded. "Yes. You're taking good care of yourself."
I gave him a gold star, didn't even get his name. I like it sometimes to keep my new friends anonymous. We were only meant to touch in the moment, to come together briefly, to make each other feel better.
"Thank you," I said, "thanks a lot."
I left my new friend nervous about my play choice, but I needn't have worried. Red was fabulous, insightful, strong. There is a strength to good writing, a force. It is hard to conjure, but when you hear it you know. It feels like the truth.