I keep having vivid dreams about fires and floods. Everything is gone. I see the end of our world in eerie detail, and I’m immersed in the immediacy of coping, of decisions and priorities. I see Vancouver, in particular, subjected to some immense catastrophe – but we are calm and orderly, deeply afraid but focused on the task of survival. When the horror of the situation finally dawns on me, I wake up.
There’s a constellation of thumbprints on my heart. One for every worry, big or small. They show up, echoes in my subconscious magnified into devastating nightmares.
They’re surfacing with increasing regularity, because in a lot of ways I feel like these fears are coming for me now. For us. The undercurrent of dread in our part of the world and beyond is tangible – and I don’t need to remind you why. It feels like we’re at the end of Act One of the sweeping drama of our times.
But we can’t be surprised, really. We were told everything at the beginning, just like a prologue to a play. We knew that we lived above our global means. We knew about inequality, about injustice. We knew that tremendous inequity kept us in strata. There’s nothing surfacing now that no one saw coming. But here we are, gasping as the curtain falls.
So it’s fucking Christmas, and I don’t really know what to do with that. I think about what gift I should get my mom, and then I go to sleep and dream about rotting corpses on Robson street. I don’t really know what to make of the holidays, because in many ways it feels like a part of the big machine that is eating us alive, but also I guess they’re pretty nice too. Still, I don’t know if we have the right to turn off the news anymore. I don’t know if we have the right to keep buying new things we don’t need, wrapping them in paper and throwing it away. I don’t know if we get to do that anymore.
It’s intermission. We’re in the lobby with our drinks and bathroom lines, talking to our dates and children and friends and spouses. But the show will start again.
What happens in Act Two?
Tremendous acts of courage. Startling revelations that leave everything changed.
I don’t know what the next year will bring us. I think I’ve read a script like this before, and I don’t like the way it ended. So it’s up to us, now.
If any of this life that we have been given is to matter at all, we will need to be the heroes of this story. The good people whose courage and resistance and love rewrite the narrative. It has to be us, or it will have been for nothing.
Take the vacation time, the cookies, the gift cards, the awkward family dinners, the boozy house parties. Make your heart strong, no matter how vast your constellation of worries. That’s what this time is for. Because we’ll need all the strength we can get.
Stand up. Act Two is about to begin.
4 thoughts on “The Intermission”
Christine, I love you. I want to make plans with you. Here’s to 2017.
Earnest. Thank you.
This is beautifully expressed, Christine,
Stephen Heatley Head, Department of Theatre and Film University of British Columbia 6354 Crescent Road, Vancouver, BC 604-822-0037