©Megan Elyse Fulmer 2014
With heavy eyes and a foggy mind, you enter your new room in Baltimore, Maryland. You spent last night partying with your older brother, absorbing your last bit of family time in Philly. You spent the entire week in Philadelphia spreading yourself thin by seeing as many friends and family as possible, all while doing the show each night. The injury, the celebrating, and the show force you to reevaluate the way you choose to live on the road. Since you have the rest of Monday off, you plan a lunch and grocery trip with your friend and fellow castmate, Sean.
Walking towards an empty both in Panera, you and Sean begin expressing the different challenges you both have faced thus far. Through your exhaustion, you continue the conversation. “Sean, I need a fresh start. I feel like I need a complete mental and physical cleanse. I’ve been so stressed and it’s weighing on me. I need to start making some changes.”
You agree to cut communication with your ex, cut back the partying, and you plan to alter your diet. In eleven weeks, you will be opening “The Bodyguard” at the Hollywood Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. You plan to take new headshots while staying in LA for 3 weeks, so you want to look and feel your very best. For the next eleven weeks, in addition to eating clean, you will create a workout routine that won’t overly exhaust you before showtime. Sean is one hundred percent on board and looks forward to witnessing your transformation. He’s the perfect friend to share your goals with because you know he’ll continue to motivate you towards a happy, healthy future.
After your first full day of clean eating and pre-show exercises, you have the perfect amount of energy for opening night at the Hippodrome Theater. The Hippodrome is providing an opening night party in the lobby of the theater. You didn’t bring anything nice to wear, because you weren’t sure that going to an opening night party would be the best decision after expressing the need to cut back the partying. Sean walks back to the hotel with you and escorts you to your room. You begin looking through clothes, still debating whether or not you should attend this party. “Bitch get dressed. You’re going. There’s free food and free wine. If the food is crap, we’ll go home.” Your gaze shifts from the mirror to Sean. “You’re right. Ok, let’s go.”
You walk into the theater’s lobby in boots not meant for fancy parties. Those boots have no heel, so until your ankle is closer to feeling one hundred percent; they’re your only option. Luckily, you’ve maintained the fresh blow out you got at a salon in Philly, so you enter the party feeling confident, at least from the knee up. You walk up the stairs onto the balcony and join the festivities. Immediately, you and Sean find the food table. They have a great salad option for you, so you fill up your plate and walk towards the bar. You quickly eat your salad so that you don’t have to juggle your food and your cabernet. You swallow the last bite, and wash it down with the first sip of wine. You begin scanning the clumps of people around the room. You recognize the clump of talented musicians, but one face doesn’t seem familiar. You look a little longer and realize you unfortunately have never seen that handsome face before. You were always going to say hello to your friends in the band, but now, motivation rushes you in their direction.
You enter the circle of men, intentionally standing to the right of the one you don’t know. You look up at the mystery man and only say, “Hi.” You say hello to the rest of the band members in the circle as you wait for mystery man to acknowledge you. They exchange their hellos, and mystery looks down to reply. “Oh. Hey!” As the conversation flows throughout the circle, you learn that this man, Harry, has been friends with the trumpet player, David since they were 15 years-old. David has been touring for the past 13 years, and ever since Harry moved to Maryland, David has stayed at his house when he plays a show close by. Since the whole cast and crew received comp tickets and plus-ones for this opening party, Harry came along. David continues to share his interest in making empanadas while staying with Harry. You look across the circle at David. “I love empanadas! When is this happening?” Dave smirks, noticing how close you’ve chosen to stand next to his best friend.
“I don’t know! Thursday?”
You smile wide, and invite yourself to enjoy the taste treats. “Thursday works for me!”
Conversation continues to swirl around the circle, but your eyes only see Harry’s. He hasn’t been able to keep his eyes off of you either. He begins asking you questions and the two of you continue to have a private conversation. Before you know it, you and Harry are the only ones left standing together. You both pause for a moment, realizing the rest of the band has dispersed, but you don’t want to lose momentum. You take the initiative to keep the energy going.
“So, Thursday?” He smiles. “Yes! Thursday it is!” Expecting him to ask for your number, you give him a verbal nudge. “Great! So, how will I know where to go, or what time to arrive?” Realizing he’s forgetting an important detail, “Oh! Walk with me.” He puts out his right arm to link with your left. You walk towards an isolated area of the lobby. “May I please have your number?” You give him your number and he continues to lead you towards a quiet nook near the bathrooms and the kitchen. “Ok, I have to ask. May I kiss you?” Your heart flutters and your smile brightens. Without showing how completely giddy you feel, you keep it cool. “Of course.” He gently places his hands on your cheeks and kisses you. He pulls back and looks up at the ceiling. “Ummmm, one more.” He looks into your eyes before placing a peck on your lips. Pulling away again he says, “Ok one more.” He repeats the act of endearment. “Ok just one more.” By the third one, you try to hold back the laughter, but you continue to chuckle as his lips are upon yours. You part ways, and meet with Sean. “I can’t believe I wasn’t going to come tonight! Thank you for getting me to this party!” Sean additionally swooning over Harry, “Girl he is fine! You’re welcome.”
On a chilly Sunday night, you sit in the passenger seat of Harry’s white Mercedes with ice saran-wrapped around your ankle to decrease swelling after an eventful five-show weekend in Baltimore. You can’t believe Harry picked you up from the theater to enjoy a third night together. You two have been smiling and laughing since your first date on Thursday. As he zooms onto the highway, your heart sinks a bit, realizing this is the last time you will take this drive with him for a long time, or maybe ever. Will he want to continue seeing you knowing you signed a contract that will keep you away for another 15 months?
Back in his house, Harry holds you in his arms as you continue sharing life stories, learning and loving more about him. Loving? Yes. Crazy? Maybe, but you can’t help this overwhelming, unfamiliar sensation. Something about him feels right without explanation. In complete awe of what has come over you, you soak up this beautiful moment. From your experience on your last two tours and other regional productions, you thought people could never find anyone worth pursuing while on the road. You thought people could only wind up in a temporary showmances that ends soon after the production comes to a close. You never thought you would have the chance of meeting someone worth pursuing beyond a first date, let alone someone who isn’t in the industry. You’ve always wanted to meet a man who isn’t a performer, but still understands the lifestyle. When a show consumes your world, the chances of meeting a wonderful someone who isn’t a performer seems slim to none, but Harry could be the man to prove your all of your theories wrong.
The doubt of seeing Harry again fades as conversation flows deeper into the night.
“I really hope to see you again. I know you were thinking of coming to San Diego for David’s birthday, but it would cool to see you before six months from now. I’d like to keep talking if want to.”
“Yea, of course. Just text me tomorrow. If I hear from you, I’d love to keep talking.”
“I will for sure.”
Based on his past, he reluctantly says, “Ok, we’ll see if you do.”
The following morning, Harry drives you and David to the airport to join the rest of your cast for a one-way flight to Charlotte. Parked in front of Southwest Airlines, Harry helps you remove your luggage from the trunk, and you share one last kiss. “I will be sure to text you when I land.” He smiles back at you. “I hope so.” He drives off, leaving you flustered with a mix of emotions. You drop your luggage off, pass through TSA, and settle onto the plane. Remembering that he’s not allowed to have his personal phone at his office, you begin drafting a text that he will come back to after a long work day. You’ve dreamt of a man like Harry for a long time. You don’t want to let him go. This is a great first gesture towards a man who could be a positive addition to your journey towards an all around healthier life style.