Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Phantom of the Opera is there, inside my mind...


There was a chandelier almost directly in front of us, not quite blocking our view of the stage below, but coming close. My son Eric stared at it as we sat waiting for the show to start.

“I wish I had night vision goggles,” he said.

“What?” I stopped looking at the picture I'd just illicitly taken to squint at him. “Why?”

He pointed upwards. “So I could see what's in that big hole.”

I smiled and let out a little laugh. “Well, what do you think is up there?”

“I don't know! That's why I want the goggles.”

Like, duh, Mom.

“Maybe that's where they keep the dancing elephant,” I said, alluding to a running joke the kiddo had kept alive all day. (“If this hotel is so great, then where's the dancing elephant?”) “Maybe it's an invisible flying dancing elephant.”

His sigh told me he wasn't amused. He never does seem to find me as amusing as I find myself.

As the theater filled with people, he continued to wonder about that hole in the ceiling. I could have told him what was up there, but I didn't. It was more fun that way.

At long last, the lights dimmed and the curtain rose on the opening auction scene of Phantom of the Opera.

Eric shifted forward, perching on the edge of his seat and watching the stage with wide eyes. If I hadn't seen the play so many times before, I wouldn't have been able to follow what was going on because I was so busy watching the wonder on his face. (I know it's cliché to talk about the delights of childhood wonder, but such moments are rare and as a mother, I live for them.)

And then they introduced the chandelier and the setting moved back in time...

The chandelier began to swing as the curtains slid up from the walls to reveal box seats full of mannequins. I don't think Eric saw that though, not with his wide eyes glued on the chandelier.

It kept moving, gaining speed as it swung back and forth.

Eric grabbed my arm, clinging to my side in obvious fear that the chandelier was about to crash down on the audience.

I squeezed his hand, smiling and feeling incredibly blessed to be able to share this with him.

The chandelier went still.

Then it rose, going up to its place in the middle of that hole Eric had been staring at.

He gasped. “That's what it's for!”

“Yep.”

I grinned as he resettled in his seat, still on the edge of it but no longer needing my emotional support. Not until the scene where the chandelier crashed...


Oh! And guess what? One of the plays within the play had a dancing elephant in it. :)

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