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Take Me With You
A swift burst of wind rushed through the air in the fallen dusk of the Milwaukee night. A keen drift blew through my thin brown hair, swirling past my eyes, covering the blur of the city lights, forming a glare in my peripheral vision, hindering my ability to see. Placing one foot in front of the other against the cracks of the gravel pavement, I sprinted to the car, parked halfway across the rooftop parking lot. I felt a shivering deep within my pale body. I clung my arms as close to my sides as possible, trying to thaw my dry winter skin. I gazed out on a promise in the city, brushing my hair out of my face. Four stories high and fourteen more stacked upon my back, my line of sight spread far throughout the boundaries of the streets.
I hopped into the back seat and immediately took my place in the leather of the chair. The cold metal of the buckle on the seatbelt stung the tips of my exposed fingers. As cold air begins to shift to its opposition, I begin to hum the melody from the show, something about this night. I gazed out upon the surrounding cars and thought something about this night indeed. Maybe it was the inspiration of the musical I had just seen, Finding Neverland that provoked this wonder. Finding Neverland was the tale of an aspiring playwright who risked his career to write the story which I’d spend my young days astounded by. A story of growing up and keeping wonder alive, Peter Pan. To me, something about this night felt new and hopeful, it activated a divine creativity which I had withdrawn from for so long.
We rolled slowly down the ramp, halting every few seconds. While the irritation that traffic evoked in me was still present, I tried my best to ignore it and close my eyes and imagine. Imagine a world where I could feel as free as the actors on stage. Imagine a world where I could be as inspired as the man in the story. Every so often a surge of imagination would fall from my brain to my fingertips, forming words upon sentences upon paragraphs in my head.
I glanced down at my phone. Nearly dead. I glanced to my left to see my sister look to the expandable DVD player in the car. Her young eyes couldn’t look away from a screen for more than a fifteen-minute drive. I then glanced to my right out the window for a split second of time. I started to gaze off, letting the street lights change to a blur. However, my inattentiveness was interrupted. “So what did you think of the show?” my mom asked peering back over her seat.
“I liked it,” I felt so bare and minimal in my words, normally I would have a much stronger opinion, a much larger reason for my answer. But now, I laid upon a cloud. But clouds aren’t truly as soft as I had always dreamt them to be and I guess that’s why it took me so long to hold my balance as I continued to float up to the heavens.
“Yeah?” she looked solidly into the pupils in my eyes, “What part did you like, I thought it was just okay.”
“Well,” I anxiously waited, deciding whether to tempt my fate with a hasty song, “I just think it was really good, like inspiring I guess.”
“Hmm,” she waited, releasing a pure silence within the open space. But that space only held for so long. Between and outside of the line of cars was a quiet whisper that became a roar in the wind. I watched the people walk past through a border of transparency. People laughing, people yelling, people shouting. Mothers out to escape the chaos of the house, leaving their children with a sitter. Oh, the worry that must pace through their veins under their fancy clothes.
A twist back in time carried me, passing in and under the hands of a clock. Flipping pages upon pages of a calendar with a gust of wind, barely sweeping my tiny little body upon the deep blue of the sinking couch cushions. A whine erupted from my system, “Take me with you,” I yipped, “Please take me with you,” like a puppy sitting on the stoop of their shoes.
“I’m sorry pumpkin, maybe next time,” my dad whispered, bent over to embrace me in a hug.
“Why can’t I go?” I cried out.
My parents both glanced at each other out of the corner of their eyes, “When you're older.” And then it was over and the door was in my face. I was older, older than I was last time they left, older than I was the last time I begged to them, take me with you. I am six years old, and I am so big. I do not still play with the same toys as the last time I was not old enough, I do not still sing the same songs as when they first left me for the night. Take me with you.
And then all was as good and well as it could be because there towering over me was Julia and I liked Julia. Julia was pretty and smart, she was kind and she listened to me. But Julia also agreed, with complete certainty, that mom and dad should most definitely not listen when I would say, take me with you.
Julia cooked for me and played with me. Even though she was far bigger than I was, she still played with my toys and sang my songs with me. I bet Julia could plead to them take me with you and she would get to go.
But Mom said no. Mom said no because I am not old enough. But I know I am plenty old enough. I am a big sister and being a big sister meant being a good example and being a good example means being grown up. I was so grown up I didn’t even call Mom mama anymore. But Mom seemed to like my toys and my songs I sang when I was not old enough. I did not understand why she laughed with rays of sunshine when I tried to be so big, but she always smiled when I would stand in the bright spots of the living room and tell her my stories. She was such a big girl, I wanted to be so so big like her, but Mom didn’t seem to like being so so big. She didn’t like her big girl clothes as I did. I want to wear big girl clothes too and be just as beautiful as Mom. But in the end, I was still not big enough and Mom still said she could not take me with you because I was not yet older. But maybe as time ticked second by second, Julia would soon leave and Mom and Dad would come back and take me with you this time.
And the next day Mom told me she would take me with you. But we did not go anywhere, there were not long car rides or city lights. When they said they would take me with you, my body brushed into an indent in the couch and Mom said that she could not take me with you because last night they went to see a musical. Mom told me musicals were great big shows, shows where people would sing and dance and tell a story. Mom told me, “It was called the Phantom of the Opera,” a fantasy suddenly grew in my head and I was right there watching the musical with Mom and Dad. They told me to hop out of my imagination and onto the couch and then even though I wanted them to take me with you, I still sat and watched the musical with Mom and Dad on the tv. I watched bundled up on the couch in between them, sharing a big girl blanket with Mom.
Then the clock struck three years in and out of each side of its hand and Mom and Dad once more rush home from a late night show. But now I am with them and I too saw the show. When I asked, take me with you, today they finally did. I watched the glow of evergreen lights line the stage, hoisting a long black cloak above my eyes and to the ceiling. On the edge of my red velvet seat with my big girl hands clenched against the armrests, I watch in awe as Elphaba and her emerald face call out to the audience, letting her voice resonate throughout the entire room. It floats through the air, reaching the crystals on the chandelier held high upon the head of the theater.
The same chandelier was there each time I had arrived. I found it hanging gingerly above our heads, watching contently time after time, show after show. It still glimmered just as brightly no matter what star took on the stage. Shall it be an emerald fog spread throughout its theater in Wicked? Or the masked face of a reckless ghost In the Phantom of the Opera? It could be the cold and gloomy streets piled on a revolution in Les Miserables. Or tonight's hopeless dreamer soaring high and low on his path to Finding Neverland. The chandelier had seen it all, each and every gust of song and strike of dance my young eyes has gazed upon in awe, it has gazed upon too. Each and every night when it joyously hung above the hearts of many like a moon among the earth, a new beginning dawned upon each and every soul through the songs it sang back to us.
Now as I still sit halted to a stop in the midst of hundreds of people each on their own little journey. I bundle my coat as tightly around my body as possible. “Mom?” She stretched back over her seat, “I guess I just really liked the story of how it all started out. Just a little boy with a dream and then he grew up and that dream became his own world.” I looked back to the streets as I spoke. I watched the feasible mother lean up against the side of a glass door as she spoke on the phone with a smile on her face. Probably checking up on that son or daughter of hers, telling her of her adventures and the things she encountered. I hope she takes her with her next time.