Months of rehearsals and script edits culminated in a three-night performance from 20 January 2017 through 22 January. The memories are still fresh; they glimmer and shimmer as they weave in and out of my mind’s eye:
Becca, armed with her ironing board and an array of costumes that needed straightening;
Edward, with his ears pressed to a headphone, listening and whispering to the crew in the control room;
Bryan, with his thumbs up and an ever smiling face;
Riley, running around with her laptop and telling the cast to do warm-ups; and
The sets crew, dancing to “How Deep Is Your Love” and snapping to action when the lights go down.
I keep trying to replay everything in my mind, eager to memorise all the details before they fade away. And yet I know that in a few months – weeks, even – these emotions will no longer wash over my skin as easily.
But that’s musing for another time.
For now, I’ll dedicate this post to the characters of EverLife.
To Xin Yi:
It wasn’t easy making you relatable. Mostly because I don’t think I could ever bring myself to keep trying to make myself likeable at the workplace. You always put up such a tough front, but deep down you’re just as vulnerable as the rest of us – pretty much like the OwlTurd comic on how we become machines piloted by soft squishy things. I know it seems like there’s no way out sometimes, but things will get better. You can do this! You can. You can. You can. 🙂
Thank you for being that unwavering pillar of support in Xin Yi’s life. You’re so sensitive, caring and strong – stronger than I ever will be. It musn’t be easy juggling a full-time job, an onion kid and a temperamental husband-father.
You were a vessel for all the people I’ve met in my life who were… self-righteous, in their own points of view. People who felt that their way of thinking were the only way, and forgot that everyone, with their collective experiences that shaped their values and beliefs, also had viewpoints that were equally justified. Even I forget that sometimes. Heh. But yes, I wish there was a way you could’ve learnt of Xin Yi’s and Richard’s lives. Maybe then you’d strive to be more kind.
More than just a comic relief character, writing you helped me figure out what I might be like in the cut-throat corporate world. Hopefully you’d have gained more experience, and please – continue being fearlessly open and genuine. You’re the breath of fresh air that everyone needs.
Hah. Even though your position in the office is probably the most secure, I still think you have the most difficult role to play. Here you are, trying to be friendly enough such that your team doesn’t distance themselves from you, and yet you have to be firm enough so they’ll listen to your instructions. To be honest I think people are still going to have some reservations towards you no matter what you do – simply because they see you have a position of privilege. Tough luck there, Boss!
It’s an open secret that nobody really talks about. I still miss you, as a friend. And yes, we said we’d stay friends. Yes, we’re no longer in contact. But I still wish the best for you. Keeping you in my thoughts.
I don’t feel sorry for you. I think you really wanted this. It’s just that I can’t help but wonder what your life would’ve been like if you’d stuck around more. But at least you’re finally free from the constant bombardment of daily life. Maybe you were never meant for this world; maybe this world was never meant for you. Who knows?
While Abby was a manifestation of my deepest thoughts and fears, you were my reflection on how my mother might feel if I chose the path that Abby did. It was days of trawling through Facebook memorials and online forums, trying to put myself in the shoes of mothers who’ve lost their children prematurely. The most striking one was a Facebook memorial I saw of a 24-year-old boy who died after being shot. No other context was given, but the memorial was updated by his mother at least once a month for seven years. I couldn’t imagine what it was like to be thinking about my son and missing him endlessly – often I wondered what it would be like if the amount of pining that the mother did was disproportionate to what her other friends and relatives experienced. That was how your backstory came to life 🙂
Loneliness, taken to the extreme. I’ll admit that I didn’t like you so much at first, but as time went by, it wasn’t hard to see why you did the things you did. Whether or not you should have done them wasn’t even a point of consideration for you, obviously. By then you were so done with the world you couldn’t care less. And I think I get that.
Take care of yourself, Richard.
And so it begins. I’m pretty sure that if I were to extend the timeline of this play, more crap would happen.
“The water rises so slowly that you don’t even notice until it’s over your head. And it’s not that you can’t reach for a life raft — one’s always there in front of you, in the form of talking to someone or making a plan to improve things. You just don’t see the point. The life raft will take years to get to shore, and it will be a tedious journey. Why not just let yourself drown?” – Mark Hill
Maybe one day we’ll be blessed enough to have the good days outweigh the bad, along with the mindframe needed to see it.
For tonight though, I rest in peace.