Twelfth Night

28 10 2009

During the summer in New York, the Public Theater performs works of Shakespheare in Central Park.

Tickets are free and the line forms early. This year featured The Bard’s “Twelfth Night” starring Hollywood screen actress Anne Hathaway

Barry really wanted to see this, but he hated waiting in lines.

This became apparant when he left me one afternoon inside the post office as I attempted to buy some stamps.

“You need to pick up the pace, John,” Barry would sometime remind me as we explored the concrete jungle together.

I was half his age, yet Barry had me beat when it came to energy. His spurts through the streets of Manhattan aside, Barry knew when to stop and breathe in and he often pointed out flowers and gardens to me.

“Smell this, John, isn’t it lovely,” he chimed upon spotting a beautiful arrangement of roses outside a west village brownstone.

Knowing Barry’s love for Shakespheare and his equal disgust for waiting in lines, I volunteered to get the tickets. Omar was game too so we decided to meet at Columbus Circle at 8 a.m. to get an early jump on the crowd.

It would be a dreary day. Rain and wind. Not too hard, but just enough to be uncomfortable. Still, we stuck it out and rented some chairs from an enterprising street vendor.

And we waited…for five hours.

Omar was quiet most of the time. We both had books to read and, occasionally, a text message to answer.

The fact that Omar and I were hanging out had to be raising a few eyebrows back in Panama City. It was my intent to make peace with him, to convey that the things we shared in life were much more precious than our differences.

After a few hours, a stage manager came out and informed the crowd that the show would go on, barring an intense storm.

We toughed it out and, eventually were awarded two tickets each. Omar decided to invite a psychiatrist friend of his. A young black man, who I was told was a confirmed heterosexual.

I called Barry with the good news.

“We got tickets,” I said.

Barry was elated and we agreed to meet outside the Delacorte Theatre before showtime. I explained that Omar and his friend would be sitting with us and, best I could tell, the seats were pretty good, center section about halfway up.

“This must be the gay section,” Barry snarked when we found our seats.

Amazingly, the weather co-operated for the most part, only delaying the performance once. The actors were all well-heeled professionals, making the Bard’s gender-bending plot even more hilarious.


On the way to the theater, I called Goede, my director friend in Canada, and left a little girl like message on his voicemail.

“Going to see Shakespheare in the Park!” I gleefully said.

Goede was the only one I was regularly writing to during my New York sojourn. A trusted confidant who understood me in ways that I could never understand.

I kept him abreast of my adventures and his feedback was like life support.

When Barry would go into one of his “Anti-America” rants, it was Goede who I thought of and how I wished he could be here to tear this man apart.

But Goede was in Canada. He had no use for New York, not now.

“Been there, done that,” he wrote.

Instead, I was traveling with Barry, but that relationship was about to take a turn.

A true test awaited.

I was about to be on my own … in New York City … with no place to sleep.




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