ACT I. THEY SIT DOWN AND TRY TO TALK “FUTURE”, BUT FAIL
“What do you imagine, now… for your future?”
“Now, for my future?”
“Yes, now for your future.”
“Well, if I imagined now for my future it wouldn’t be future it would be now.”
“Do you get that?”
“Do I get what?”
“I don’t know, you seem standoffish now…”
“I’m not standoffish now!”
“Well, I just want to tell you I think it’s still a good thing.”
“What’s a good thing?”
“Imagining, now for the future.”
“But you just said…”
“But don’t you see? If I imagine it now, then it is now.”
“Do you get that?”
“Yes… I think so… But, I don’t think that it’s easy.”
“I never said it would be.”
“Okay, well I think I should go now.”
“Now? Now is already gone!”
“Okay, I’m leaving.”
“That’s more like it.”
ACT II. MEMOIR 2019
Go to the ribbon aisle. Find a color to your liking. Take one spool. Wait in line. Wait in line for a long time. Be tempted by everything set up by the register. Reach for Altoids. Put them back. Reach for them again and decide, “Yes. I deserve these. I deserve these today.” Finally be called to the register. They scan the Altoids, then the ribbons. The ribbons are not on the store catalogue, because you probably reached for the ones on sale. The overflow from Christmas. Wait ten more minutes while someone in the store punches in the correct sale offer. Show your student I.D. Get even more money off. You pay less than $5 for the whole thing. You walk outside. It’s probably raining. That feels right. Walk the few blocks home, open your door, wave to the doorman, go up the elevator, say to the stranger next to you, “Have a lovely night,” go down your hallway and open your door. Close it. Sit down on the floor. Brush your hair back. Get scissors. Begin to cut the ribbon into smaller ribbons. Enough for it to be tied to something. Keep them in a safe place you can carry with you. A bag, a jacket pocket, a sock. Think of the people you love as your eyes close. Go to sleep. Wake up. Walk down your block again. Look around you. Look at the people around you. Find somewhere. Find somewhere that feels right. Tie a ribbon. Leave. Keep doing this until you have now left a trail. One on the pole outside of your apartment. One on the leg of the mailbox on the corner. One in the stairwell at your school. Recognize them everyday when you walk. Be heartbroken when you discover one missing. Travel away. Leave them all for a while. Travel to somewhere else, and keep tying them. Go to the Dead Sea and tie one on a railing where the water meets the sharp sand. (Yes, you will be surprised it is sharp). Leave one on a railing in Tel Aviv where you witness a pair of pigeons congregate every morning. (Yes, you will be sad to leave them). Leave one in front of a bakery that you call “the blue place”. (Yes, the man who works there speaks another language, but you still are able to brighten each other’s days every morning without fail). Leave one in a bathroom stall in Germany (Yes, you are not entirely sure which city you are in). Leave one outside of La Mutinerie in Paris (Yes, you will be beaming with joy). Leave one on a roof with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. (Yes, you will have the taste of strawberries and nutella on your lips). Leave one on a chain link fence protecting a statue of Joan of Arc. (Yes, you will feel as though you recognize her). Come back. Come back and know there is a good chance you will never see those ribbons again. Follow your normal routine. Recognize the ribbons you left and are still there. There are fewer left. Let a few months pass. Let the ribbons leave. There may be only one left now. Let them go. Don’t fix any of them. Let a few more months pass. Go to school. Go to the grocery store. Go to the library, go a thousand times. Go to the park and sit under a tree and look at every different color of green in the leaves and try to remember them. Go on a walk as far as you can and then turn around. Go to work and dream about anything but the work you are doing. Go to the club and dance with friends and lovers and friends that are lovers. Go to your room and cry, because yes, you must. Go and listen, really listen. Go and speak, really speak. Go to the woods and lay in the field and think “This is it. Yes… Finally.” Go, and go, and go, and go. Get a text message from a good friend. Read it. It will say, “Look what I found!”. Attached will be a photo of one of your ribbons. Somewhere in the world. Safe and sound. And you will look at it like you look at yourself in a mirror. No, it is that. And you will wonder if all of the other ones are safe and sound. And if they are not, you will wonder if they are dancing happily in the wind. Free. Roaming.
And you will smile, because you know.
ACT III. WHAT WE KNEW
The following voices are real, but anonymous. Acquired by text conversation or instagram.
I invite you to share your dreams in the comments.
“When I was small, I dreamed I would have a horse named Applejack. She was white with brown spots and I would often draw her with an apple in her mouth. At one of my birthday parties my uncle brought one of his horses to my backyard and me and all of my friends rode around and around until there was a ring where she had been walking. I thought that maybe I would be able to keep her at the end of the party, but my backyard was surely not big enough.”
“I dreamt about Santa Clause, the tooth fairy, the big bad wolf, and all the other characters that I couldn’t see, but knew existed.”
“I imagined that the flowers on the walls of the church were people and that they could hear me. I imagined I was a backup dancer and my brother was a pop star when we put on concerts in our basement and flickered the lights. I imagined my bunk bed was a trash truck. I imagined my bedroom was my own music video.”
“I don’t think I imagined much out of the ordinary. I rode bikes. I played with my Barbies. Me and Maura went to the cove and performed for her sisters. We were outside until it got dark. We would just wake up and go to a neighbor’s house and that would be our day. But no, I don’t think I ever dreamed I was a princess or anything like that. I think I only knew what I had shown to me.”
“I dreamed I was a motherfuckin’ star.”
“I always dreamed about being related to the boys I was in love with. I really wanted a tragic accident to happen so people would feel bad for me sometimes. Like hit a deer. Those both feel very volatile. On a lighter note I wanted to live in a gated community, but we couldn’t afford a gate or a passcode.”
“I really don’t know! I don’t really remember. Probably have a boyfriend.”
“I dreamed about the normal things I think. Dreamed that I would get married at the horticultural gardens. In green pants. The wedding activity would be tree climbing. Dreamed that I would be a movie critic. And just watch movies all day. Or a cake decorator. My dream houses all involved elaborate jungle gym situations. Like the kids have in Spy Kids. I wanted to be an astronaut. And a monkey.”
ACT IV. AND OFF YOU GO!
She puts on her red leather pants, and red leather boots, and red leather top, and she puts on bright red lipstick to match her bright red eyeshadow, and she flips off her bright red light bulb, and shuts her bright red door, and looks at her bright red wings in the hallway mirror, smiles, and off she goes.