Last night, you watched a boy come back. A moment later, the adult he’d become, returned. His eyes had sparked as he’d said something to tease you. There was a freedom you noticed, that animated his face and this energy rippled through his body. Then he was calm again, as you’ve usually seen him. You were sure you’d just seen the boy, the boy he’d been at school, a mischief-maker and a talker. You liked that. You’d heard his interviews in the group and it added up. You’d just been privileged to a glimpse of the boy and the man he’d grown into inside the space of two or three moments.
There are other moments you’ve seen. You’ve noticed someone put a wall around them, and from behind that wall, they entered the group. The wall did not come down, not that you saw. You felt the distance between you, and the echo of that feeling inside you.
You watched one of the children dance with a real freedom, and your heart ached to have that freedom back. You thought of what you’ve traded for that freedom and knew it was something most adults have traded away. You’d learnt slowly to shut those parts out. It was called growing up and it was something you’d done to prepare for being in the world and that sounds perverse to you now.
You’ve seen emotions flicker across someone’s face as they answered a question. They belie a larger story in their lives and it created a surge to know them and that larger story of theirs. You’ve seen someone feel awkward standing still while others danced. You saw what you thought was a conversation going on inside them. You were sure that part of them wanted to dance. They kept opening their eyes to check what others were doing and you felt for them, feeling exposed like that, and you felt with them. You know how that feels too.
You’ve seen these things in other people and you’ve felt them yourself and now you’re going to show them to strangers. And you don’t know which part of you will show up tonight, or at any particular moment.
You remember that a week ago, you were walking to a rehearsal and became aware, very slightly aware, that you were preparing yourself in the same way that you used to prepare yourself to go to school. You were adapting so that you could be in a group, with people you knew and some you didn’t. The group is the same size as a class at school. This is interesting to you.
It made you think about the parts of yourself you’ve traded over time, from childhood to adulthood. These are the parts you’ve lost, that you actually sent away. Everyone has done that. You see it going on around you, in the group, and mirrored in yourself. You can feel the echoes of these holes, the losses, the joys and the freedoms of everyone in the room. They are each person’s signature. You wonder if the audience will see this. You hope they do. You know they will. On some level, you know they will.
– Anne Worthington. Summer. March 2016