Inside the Theater

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Inside the theater, a cover band was playing Neil Young songs. As her eyes adjusted, slowly and intimately, among the silhouettes cast by the warm lights from the stage, she started to recognize faces from her photos. Speakers at the Human Rights Festivals, some artists and musicians, university folks, a few local shop owners, even a couple of good hearted politicians. She didn't remember their names as much as their conversations. Their stories. She felt like she was back in an amber-hued dark room, watching as a picture developed before her. Only this print was living and moving, a picture of Athens as it is, superimposed on a picture of Athens as it was. She saw again, something that made the place so unique. Pure human energy in so many malleable forms, cooked in courage and craziness, age and wisdom and youth, and a freedom of thought and action so rare anywhere else. She had a two-beer buzz going. Mark brought a third. She hesitated.

"Don't worry. I'm driving. Enjoy yourself."

She did, watching the crowd, remembering names, saying hi to old friends,  Melissa, Rick, Gwen … Randy stayed next to her, rocking back and forth, as the cover band wrapped up a set. He cupped his hand to her ear. “You’re going to be so glad you came,” he said.

“I already am,” she answered. The music was good. The beer was good, and it was great to get out for a night. The guys on stage started switching out with a new group that was going to play. The Possibilities. Jules didn’t think she’d ever heard them before but the new guitarist coming out looked familiar. And the other guy. Weren’t they with R.E.M.?

Yeah! A flurry of surprise and cheers rose up from the crowd as Michael Stipe walked on the stage, and R.E.M. started strumming a riff that lifted the floor. It was a homegrown, good-to-see-you dance party. Something lost was found. Even if it was just a three-beer buzz, for Jules it was a joy to be alive, listening and jumping in time to song after familiar song, Calling all radio stations… Calling all radio stations… Wasting time, Sitting Still… Don’t go back to Rockvi-i-i-llle….. Don’t go back to Rock- vi-ille… This One goes out to the One I love… This one goes out to the one I left. behind… . and coming at last to that song with the lyric that had haunted her for the past month solid, with its signature line, sounded out loud and live, like the manifestation of

her worst fears amplified ...  It's the end of the world as we know it ...- It's the end of the world as we know it...- It's the end of the world as we know it ...

She could dance to that song. She could dance to that fear. She could repeat it over and over again and finally come to the end and feel it was true ...  It's the end of the world as we know it. … and I feel fine …I feel fine …

excerpt from The Red and Black Breed,

a novel by Molly Read Woo

"Randy says a good band's playing after the film," she said. 

“Which one?"

“The Possibilities. I never heard of them, but that doesn’t mean anything.”

"Days like today, I think anything's possible. Good and bad."

Copyright ® 2010. Molly Read Woo. All rights reserved.