Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Boy, That Must Hurt ...

When I was nineteen years old ... before I discovered the rapture of alcohol ... before I discovered the bliss of weed ... I discovered the joys of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

K and I went to our first midnight showing of Rocky at the Legacy Theatre.  Of course, back in those days, it wasn't known as the Legacy Theatre.  It was just ... "The Theatre."   We bought a study guide and rented a VHS copy to prepared ourselves.  K bought the soundtrack and we listened to it in the car and sang along.  We got a list of props and went shopping. 

Finally, the night came.  We walked in quietly and sat in the back row ... trying to be inconspicuous.

Bad, bad idea.

A friend in mine in the theater community spotted us ... and came running over with a group of ushers waving flashlights and chanting, "Virgins! Virgins! Virgins!"   They had us stand up and made examples of us.  It was mortifying.  It was horrifying.  It was so ... much ... fun!

We shouted and we threw toast and we sang.  By the time the show was over, it was around two a.m.  My friend came over and told us that the performers and crew were going to Denny's ... and we were invited.   The restaurant was full of outcasts and misfits and outsiders.  They were subversive ... and for that one night ... we were part of their tribe. 

It was ... amazing.

I don't think we made it home until around five a.m. ... yawning with exhaustion ... shaking handfuls of glitter out of our hair and our shoes and our bras.  And thus ... a tradition was born.

K and I went every year ... and time passed.  Eventually the legacy theater stopped showing Rocky ... and we went to other venues.  We grew up.  We got older.  But Rocky never did.   Maybe that's the draw in these sort of things.  Year after year, we get further away from from that nineteen year old kid we once were.  But going Rocky brings it all back.  And for just a little while ... you feel like that teenager again.  You feel like one of the cool kids.

K kept going ... even after I stopped.  She got her husband to go ... and their friends.  They went every year.  I wish I would've been there to go with them ... but at least I got to go that last year.

A whole big group of us went that night.  Stoney went with ... but he was there as K&J's friend.  We weren't together yet (although I wouldn't have minded if we had been).  But he wasn't into me ... and heck, K was still trying desperately to hook him up with someone else at that point.  In any case, he was good sport and let them draw a big V on his forehead since it was his first time at Rocky.  He even let us take a picture of him with Frank at the end of the night.

It was a good feeling to be back.  It was a good night.

But ... the world keeps turning.  Things change.  Good things ... Stoney and I did become a couple.  Bad things ... we lost K.

J sent me an enthusiastic e-mail today ... full of exclamation points and caps ... telling me that tickets for Rocky were going to go on sale ... and even though K couldn't be there ... she would WANT us to go.

Would she?  Probably.  But I don't care.  Because when I go, I'm not this ThirtyWhat ... I'm the nineteen year old ThirtyWhat.  I'm the ThirtyWhat that went with K.   That show wasn't about me ... and it sure as hell wasn't about J.  That show was about K ... and how much she loved it ... even when she was stuck in a wheelchair and couldn't dance the Time Warp anymore.

And who knows?  Maybe I'll want to go again some day?  But that day isn't today.

In the velvet darkness
Of the blackest night
Burning bright
There's a guiding star
No matter what or who you are

Rocky Horror - There's a Light

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