I wasn’t nervous, probably because I was just so relieved to not feel sick. The Butcher had asked me earlier if he was going to have to put on a dress and pretend to be me and go out there and read my lines. For most of the day, I was afraid that might be the case.
Here’s the thing, folks–in real life, I’m awkward. I feel awkward. And the women who were in The Vagina Monologues are extraordinary. And I kept feeling like the coolest stuff, for me, was happening behind the scenes, just getting to hang out with these women who kick so much ass.
I just had two small parts, a happy cooter fact and a sad cooter fact, but these women were getting up on stage and telling long cooter stories, and then coming back stage and laughing and talking in hushed voices and everyone was constantly hugging each other and smiling and I just felt incredibly honored to be there with them.
Any one of them could have read my two cooter facts and no one would have missed me. And so that made me feel deeply honored, too, that they would give me a little room on the stage.
Even so, it didn’t really hit me until I stepped out on the stage to give my happy cooter fact and there I was, bathed in light, and I couldn’t see anyone else. Just darkness and a spot of light to stand in and a microphone with that waffle of silver wire over the head.
And that’s when I was awe-struck.
Here I was, your lowly blogger, on the stage at the Belcourt Theater, once the home of the Grand Ole Opry*, where Miss J. and I saw Gillian Welch, and, according to the sign on the dressing room door, Raul Malo had been recently. It seemed pretty silly, frankly.
Not in a bad way, but just in one of those “Wow, how the fuck did this happen?” ways. Weird things constantly happen to me, but it’s been a long time since something really pleasantly strange has.
And it felt good. I am all for the return of some happy fortuities around here, let me tell you. So, shoot, you want to throw me out on a stage used to bearing the weight of people I admire, and if that audience wants to laugh at and with me**, I’m not going to say no. It was amazing. And I feel very lucky.
Then, afterwards, I was standing in front of the stage and I heard a familiar voice shrieking “B.! B.!***” and The Big E and the Butcher came running over to give me hugs.
Then, I went back stage to get my stuff and I came out and said good-bye to folks and hugged everyone I could find and looked around and there was the Butcher standing in the back of the house, wearing his big brown leather coat, with a big smile on his face, and he lifted his hand to wave at me, and I walked up to him and he said, “No, that was really good.” And I said, “I’m really glad you came.” And he said, “I liked it.”
And I felt lucky to have him, too. I can’t help it, y’all. Even when he drives me crazy, I feel like my brother is one of the best happy fortuities in my life.
*Though, in all fairness, before the Opry settled at the Ryman, it seems to have made its home for a short time in just about every place in town.
**Though, to the person who whooped when I mentioned that having your clitoris cut off can lead to death… Did you not get that that was a “not-so-happy fact”?
***Well, actually, she was shrieking my whole name, which most of you now know, but you know, in the beginning I was “Aunt B.” and all of my readers knew who I was and it became a funny little joke after a while. And so, I reckon it’s still a joke, just now everyone is in on it. It’s probably better that way.