Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hop on Pop

"Hey, has anyone seen Calvin?"


No, Ms. Ryane.

I think he's outside, Ms. Ryane!

And he was. Wandering the quad alone.

"Hi, Calvin."


This was a forlorn "hi" from a sad-looking kid.

"What'cha doin' out here, Calvin?"

Scuff, scuff. Rub the top of the head. Look this way and that.

I guess lookin' for my dad.

Calvin is in fifth grade and in his final year of Shakespeare Club. In third grade, he was a sailor in "Twelfth Night." For the following two years, he took on the role of lighting operator. He was so adept last year on "Macbeth" that we doubled up his cues for this year's show.

He wanted someone — a certain someone — to see him run that lighting board.

Calvin struggles academically. There was some talk of possibly holding him back from middle school for a year...but the boy can operate lights.

Calvin is in pain on the home front. Dad.

I guess lookin' for my dad.

Oliver is playing Demetrius. Oliver had a phone conversation with his dad before the morning show. He was looking for some encouragement from the man. The man in his life who lives in another house and would not be showing up to see Oliver's Demetrius.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, I or anyone else can do or say to make up for these AWOL fathers.

"Come inside, Calvin, you have a show to run. The actors need your lights. Maybe your dad'll show up."


Shuffle. Head down. Hoodie up.

"I know, Calvin. I know how great your work is and I will never forget how you operated that lighting board."

Calvin takes his place at the back of the auditorium with the rest of the crew. The audience is excited and loud. I step onstage to engage with each actor for a last-minute pep talk.

"Oliver, have a blast. Oliver...Oliver, look at me. What is it?"

He scans the house.

Nothin' I guess.

"Oliver, other kids are going to want to act and other people will go to the theatre again because of your work....You are that good. Believe me?"


I guess lookin' for my dad.

Dear my true love,

I miss you dearly. I can't wait to see you. You make my day every time I talk, and see you. I couldn't find a guy like you. I hope one day we get married. When you talk it is soft and gently.

P.S. Your sunshine girl
—Natalie, 5th grade

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