Everyone got up.
I stayed seated.
Everyone began chattering, stepping over knees, shoes, elbows
until they were all in the lobby; drinking, smoking, pissing.
I stayed seated, studying the program.
I arrived alone that night, knowing nobody
except one of the performers.
Soon, everyone began trickling back in,
stepping over knees, shoes, and elbows.
I stayed seated.

“Pardon me.”
“Excuse me.”

They all spoke some version of these, quietly, passing me.
Then, back in their seats, everyone began chattering again.
Everyone seemed to know everyone, except for me.
I knew none of them and they knew none of me.

Soon, I’d become bored with the program,
setting it down on my lap, unfolded like a fancy napkin.
I was ready for the lights to come down,
but the lights stayed on.
Everyone kept swiveling their necks,
looking for someone else to wave to.
I’d decided I might as well do this too.
So I turned around, made eye contact
with an entire row of young girls.
I smiled, waving my fingers, and mouthed nonsense to them.
They all assumed I knew one of them,
so soon each one of them began mouthing nonsense back to me.
Then, the lights came down and everyone faced forward,
clearing their throats, silencing their phones, and mumbling the end
of whatever sentence the lights caught them in the middle of.

The stage curtain slowly flung open
and I got up and exited my row, blocking everyone’s view;
Tip toeing over knees, shoes, elbows and a stern faced usher,
telling me, “Intermission is over.”

written on 05/07/2011 by: Matt Kane