If anyone knows anything about me, they’d know that I am a coupon fanatic.
After a usual morning of internet surfing, I landed a discount offer, for a play I had been wanting to see for some time, “Platanos, Collard Greens y Callalou”, showing at the Baruch Performing Arts Center, in NY. If I happen to find a sale, discount or coupon for something I want, 97% of the times, I grab it. I’m a sucker for deals!
So there I go, in front of my laptop, with my credit card in hand and fingers setting up to press the “purchase button”.
Voila! –purchase complete!
There’s something exhilarating in finalizing a purchase online. I think it’s the transaction of commitment and completion. The ‘no refund’ policy gives off an aura of permanency; keeping in stir, a ‘going forward’ momentum. (Life’s metaphors)
There I was, with a smile on my face, knowing that two days from then, I was going to see this highly ‘raved about’ play. It was even more exciting to have been able to purchase 2nd row seating, in the central of the theater. Though I realized, I had probably lucked out, because it was a single seat purchase.
[Two days go by….]
Saturday arrived in the blink of an eye. I woke up early in the morning and proceeded with my 8-4pm shift at the hospital. The day dragged by so lazily. It was unbearable. Our work load was light and slow and time turtled its way through the day. With the closing of our hospital and the re-applying process for the new one, it has caused many to be in a frenzy. I watch countless colleagues, roam the hallways aimlessly with worriment on their backs. Their stresses have thickened the air like honey sap. As for me, I’m all prayered up and am able to pace through, worry-free. I have asked the Almighty to keep me in His favor. I trust that when you’re consistent and faithful to God, He delivers beneficence. Do I know if I’ll have a job in two weeks? ….No. But what I do know is that everything will happen exactly the way it’s meant to happen. I believe that I am equipped for any challenges that may come my way.
In the meanwhile, I anxiously awaited for 4pm to arrive and when it did, I rushed out of the hospital and got home as quickly as possible, to get ready for the play.
“Okay, boys! Mommy is leaving now! There’s pizza in the oven and be sure to keep your phones charged so we can communicate, in case of any emergency. The play is out in the city on 25th Street, so I will be taking the train there“, I said hurriedly.
“Oh? You’re taking the train? Wow! Ok. You need to be careful, mom“, said my teenage son, uneasily. He asked, “Are you going with Allan?” and I replied, “No son, I’m going alone and yes, I will be careful.”
“Bye boys, have a good night!” and out the door I went, suddenly feeling awkward with ‘going out by myself’ but of course, I convinced myself that it was okay. I reminded myself that sometimes we need to treat ourselves to something nice and deserving but then the other part of me whispered, “What good is it, if it isn’t with someone you love?” I saved that mental battle for the train ride.
As I sat on the 6 train, heading downtown, I passed most of my time by people-watching. It never fails to see the most interesting things, while riding the trains of New York City. As I tuned out the screeches of rubbing steel and metal wheels,
I watched a blind, pan handler hustle his way, from cart to cart, exclaiming his need for money, while banging everyone in his path with his blind stick. He was tall, with caramel complexion, dressed in dirty, raggedy clothes. It made me wonder how did he arrive to this place. Three minutes later, he was gone.
I looked down the train and saw three women, in their mid-20’s, dressed as glowing Brite-Lite fairies, with neon colored tutus and tall, bouncy antennas atop their heads — giggling and taking pictures and it isn’t even Halloween yet. I’d imagine they were going to be in a show of some sort.
I also observed a man’s perverted, hungry eyes, devour this young lady, standing across, that could’ve been as young as his daughter. Instantly, I was disgusted. There’s something gut wrenching when a man lacks the ability to lower his gaze. Quickly, I prayed.
Then, entered a young, trendy couple, who squeezed their way in for a seat, sitting on each other’s lap, practically on my thigh. They hugged and whispered sweet nothings in each other’s ears and blew kisses on their necks.
It was in that moment, again I heard, “What good is it, if it isn’t with someone you love?” I then answered myself, “Sometimes, the someone you love isn’t available for you at the moment.” I began to feel saddened. I began to reminisce on the last time I blew kisses on his neck while I pressed up against him, leaning on the silver pole. We were riding a crowded train, ruggedly on the NYC tracks and we’d desperately sway into one another, to keep balance.
[Next stop…. 23rd Street. “Stand clear of the closing doors”]
Off the train and up the stairs, I climbed. Confusedly, as always, I looked around to figure out which direction to walk in. I knew I was close but walking a city block in the wrong direction, always doubles your search time. And yes, that’s exactly what happened to me. I didn’t mind though. Fortunately, I still had a 1/2 hour available before the play started. I finally reached my destination and as I looked around at the people who were situated in the holding room, waiting to see the play, I took notice how they were all coupled up. I didn’t think this would happen, but admittedly, I felt odd. In order to kill some time, I went to the restroom, came back, entered the theater and immediately searched for my seat. Once finding it, I couldn’t help but notice, I was being sandwiched by couples in front, in back and on both sides of me. After 15 minutes of keeping myself busy, reading the play bill, the show finally commenced.
In the midst of engrossment, intermission soon arrived. Some people stood up, stretched, went to the restroom and some purchased souvenirs. While others just stood seated, talking and laughing with whomever they came with. I was situated in my seat, observing everyone else. I, too, had wished I had someone to laugh with and cite the funny parts of the play. Suddenly, a feeling of melancholy took over, as I forcibly resisted. This feeling caught me totally off guard. I thought to myself, “I knew I wasn’t ready to go out.” When the play resumed, a tear slid down my cheek but it wasn’t long after, I began to laugh. Thank heavens this play was loaded with comedy. I, along with the rest of the audience were laughing immensely. I, then looked around and watched these couples frolic in laughter. They all looked so happy with smiles of celebration. Most of the women were dressed so nicely and the men were handsome and well-groomed, complimenting one another. At that moment, my frame of mind shifted. I closed my eyes for a second and began to inhale the love that surrounded me. Though I was not one of the people cuddling up, hand in hand, laughing and creating memories, I found myself with a strong urge to smile with them; to smile for them, for their happiness…
and so, I did.
By the end of the play, I realized I allowed myself to melt into and entwine with the energy of love that filled the theater. I permitted myself to become part of as opposed to feeling displaced, as so at the beginning of the evening. I no longer felt sad nor did I feel alone. God’s love exists everywhere. We just have to remain cognizant and open for the serving. I am so glad I went to see this play.
Thank God for coupons.