Two days before showtime, I was lying in my sick bed asking, “Why now?” The obvious response is “When then?” When is it convenient or appropriate to get deathly sick? Ok, I didn’t get the flu shot, and I was struck with four miserable days of chills and aches. That lifted only to find me with a bronchial virus that threatened my throat and, obviously, the performance of my one-woman show scheduled a nine days later. “No problem, “ I thought. “I will certainly be fine by then.” Guess what. The day before we were to leave for our 12-hour drive north, I am still coughing and raspy. “The show must go on!” I quipped in my now-baritone voice.
We forged ahead, fortunately through sunshine and blue skies to Wilmington, North Carolina, our former home. I knew that we would be seeing our wonderful friends, who we love and miss dearly, but I was focused on being able to deliver my schtick without gasping for breath at the first tickle.
After realizing that the piano at the first gig was a digital grand not a real one and that the pedal clunked loudly every time I pressed it, I gathered my wits and delivered a fine performance. There was even a tear or two, so I guess some “felt” the music.
The second show, the following day, found me feeling buoyed by the first success and excited about performing on a 100-year-old grand piano that was just heavenly to play. One of my friends stood up (inspiring a standing ovation:), and I felt the warmth and love I so miss now that we’ve moved. Two or three people spoke their kind words with tears running down their cheeks, so I told myself that at least a few are truly “feeling” the music. Several said they wanted to know more about my composer and his lover, so I succeeded in sparking an interest in the lives of these famous people who changed the musical scene in America in the 30s.
My final performance was a “soirée” in a dear friend’s home. I have already written about that, but what i will never forget is the hug I got from my concert pianist coach, Domonique Launey, who said I had “the touch.” That’s what I was after, and that went deep. All of my agonizing over “the velvet touch” paid off.
As we head home, my cough is 99% gone, but my knee is all swollen from sitting so long and schlepping bags up and down stairs. A little ice and a good attitude help.
A visit to my doctor on the way out of town proved anxiety-provoking, but I will worry about that another day. The message was, “You’re not ready to call it quits yet, and I can’t help you, but I would Google your illness, and maybe you can find a doctor who has the answers you’re seeking.” That consultation was a waste of time and money, but I will not let it get me down. The show must go on, and it must go on while I’m still able to ice and “show.”