Number 1…part 3

 

PATIO TALK

It was warm out, so I’d decided to eat my lunch out on the patio of our workplace. I ate ravenously, barely chewing before swallowing, inhaling more and more until my plate was nearly clean. One would think I had malnutrition. I probably was…being a “starving actor” ‘n all. I ate alone, a warm breeze flushing my cheeks. I enjoyed eating alone. It was peaceful and I didn’t have to talk to anyone. I could focus purely on my food. I could focus and think…

Think…think and thinking and thinking too much…

I wondered about my friend Pablo and why he liked Bobby, or Robert—or whatever—so much. Pablo was my best friend, but I couldn’t understand what he saw in him. Why he thought he was a really nice guy when he was a total ass. I thought about the time I asked Bobby to stay at work for me so I could go home early and he said “no, that he had to get home to his daughter.” Then when he was done with his shift, he ended up hanging out with Pablo at the bar with a couple of drunken girls. I was really mad about that. Angrier than usual. I shouldn’t have been. He wasn’t my husband. But there just HAD to be a reason why he was acting this way. It didn’t make any sense. Because he WAS a really nice guy. He wasn’t a jerk. But his actions just didn’t match up. And Pablo liked him, and so did a lot of people, so why was it I was seeing him as the bad guy? There just had to be a reason why he acted the way he did and it was going to drive me insane until I found out why!

“Hey, whatcha thinkin’?”

Speak of the devil

“What’s up, Bobby,” I said, snapping into focus, and wiping any residual food-crumbs off the corners of my mouth. He was standing across from me, smiling his usual-annoying smile.

“Oh, I just saw you out here and wanted to say hi, but you looked deep in thought…” he said, smiling.

“Oh yeah, I do that,” I said, wiping my face again with my napkin. I could’ve sworn I felt leftover crumbs on my face still.

“Whatcha eating?” he asked, his fingers laced in front of him as he casually leaned against a chair.

“Um…” I glanced down at my plate…what did I eat? I was so hungry, I didn’t even pay attention. “I dunno, sliders?” I shrugged.

Bobby nodded. “They must’ve been good.”

“Yep.” My eyes flicked from my plate to Bobby and back again. “So, what’s up?”

He shrugged…and smiled again. “Just wanted to say hi.”

“Why don’t you act like a married man?” I blurted, as if the situation couldn’t be anymore uncomfortable for me and my “private” lunch.

He blinked and the smile went slightly crooked, but seemed to still hold on. And then his face relaxed, as if a sense of relief went through him. “Do you really wanna know?” he said.

“Um, yeah. I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t.” Boy, I could such a bitch to him.

Bobby sighed and the smile was gone. Then he went into a story I would never forget. Out of respect for the sake of their own relationship’s privacy, I won’t divulge. But all you need to know is that the man went from beginning to end with a story about what happened between him and his wife. And because I could sense he was telling the truth (lies are easy to spot, trust me), the hate and anger I felt for him melted away. Those feelings were replaced with a sadness and a touch of guilt for hating him so much. I asked him why, if the two of them were so miserable, he or her didn’t ask for a divorce. He told me that he wouldn’t do it because he wanted the best for his daughter, but that the idea of divorce crossed his mind many times. He figured, being an incredibly patient man, he would try to wait it out until his daughter grew to be 18.

After a moment, he said, “Do you think I’m a bad person?” And he was serious, the look in his eyes glossing over.

“No,” I said. “I think you’re human.”

My insides warmed but in a very sad and guilty way. It felt like everything I thought I knew or assumed about Bobby was right and wrong at the same time. Bobby was trapped in a marriage where both people wanted to escape and neither knew how to do it right. From then on, I decided to make him a friend. Not a close friend, but in my circle of people who I knew needed somebody. I called it The Losers Club (because, frankly, I was one of the biggest losers).

“Thank you for telling me,” I said. “If you ever need a friend…” This time I smiled.

A month or so had passed since we had that talk on the patio. We were good friends at work, but nothing more. My sarcasm remained when talking with him, but we were more playful than we had been before.

One day, while the two of us worked at our computer stations, he looked at me with a particularly bright smile and said, “I’ve got some interesting news to tell you.”

“Oh yeah? What?” I said, smirking at him with my usual cockiness.

“I’m getting a divorce.”

My jaw dropped…

Number 1…part 2

 

THE COLDSHOULDER MOVE

As the months passed, I endured working with Robert, by being a bitch. I can’t explain why he brought this bitchy side out of me, but I wanted to make it clear that absolutely NO sign of attraction would sneak out onto my expression. He would walk pass me at work and say, “Hey, pretty lady.” I would sneer back. Every computer station I worked at, he would be there too, and if he said anything to me, I would ignore him. If he tried to jump into a conversation with me and another coworker, I would cut him off by saying, “Married men aren’t allowed to talk about this. Go away.” His response was always a smile and a little laugh, and he would CONTINUE talking with us anyway!

I hated him.

When we were on separate sides of the room, I would glance over in his direction and watch him work. He always had this intense look in his eyes whenever he worked on the computer and his lips pursed in concentration. He had full lips and long black eyelashes, black curly hair cut short, high cheekbones, skin the color of creamy coffee, and these subtle dimples that creased his cheeks anytime he smiled. I wanted to kiss those dimples.

Boy, I hated him!

One night, a bunch of us from work got together at a bar to celebrate an old manager’s visit home. It was hours upon hours of fun and drinks. LOTS of drinks. I had a total of about six vodka Red Bulls, which landed me in the arms of an innocent coworker. I suppose we made out for a couple of minutes, but I wouldn’t find out until the next morning at work.

“Everyone’s telling me that we made out,” I would say.

His young face would turn bright red. It always turned bright red when I talked to him.

“Is that true?” I would ask.

“Yes,” he would say.

“Oh…well, was it any good?” I would say.

“Yes, it was very sweet, actually,” he would say.

“Oh….well, I’m sorry, I was totally drunk. I didn’t mean to take advantage of you like that,” I would say.

“No, don’t be sorry. It was great,” he would say.

“I’m sorry anyway. It won’t ever happen again,” I would say. And it didn’t.

Back to the party at the bar, my massive drunk buzz was finally wearing off and I had returned to a more suitable buzz. Good timing too, because the next thing I heard was…

“BOBBY!!!”

I turned around and saw Robert walk into the bar, a bright white smile spread across his face as he greeted everyone from work.

As he made his way closer to where I was, I called out, “Well look who’s here!”

He just smiled back and came towards me. But I moved away and took a seat at the bar top, realizing as I was sitting down, my drunkenness was still affecting my thought process so I deemed it wiser to stay away from Robert. Somehow he ended up hovering beside my chair anyway, almost like a protective shroud. The coworker I made out with was close by too. But I distracted myself with my girlfriends, all the while irritated AND smugly pleased that Robert was standing guard.

Soon enough, it was closing time and we were all making our way out of the bar. People were offering me rides home, but I wanted to go to Denny’s to sober up some more. Robert offered to take me and I took it.

As soon as we walked into the old-fashioned diner, my gut twisted in a warning. But I ignored it. We sat down at a table and I ordered coffee and chicken strips. Or rather he ordered them for me, which I thought was quite bizarre. Pssh, I guy ordering FOR me, the nerve… 

It was just the two of us. We talked about musicals, history, my life as an actress, his life as a history major, details I would never remember because my head wouldn’t stop buzzing, and because I was too caught up with the fact that I was sitting alone with him thinking how wonderful it was and that I wanted so badly to reach out and touch his cheek, and that this was how it could be…if…

If what? You’re not married, my head would say. Then, but HE is, my other head would say.

We were leaned in very close at this point. I could feel his warm breath on my mouth, and then, before I knew what was happening…

“Well, are you done? Cause I need to get going,” he said.

I blinked and glanced down at my plate of food. Empty.

“Yeah, I’m done,” I said, and that warm feeling I felt inside my gut turned to an icy, numbing pain.

He drove me back to my car in silence, dropped me off and drove away without waiting for me to get inside my car. I remember it was freezing that night too and I only had on a thin jacket. I don’t know why that’s important, but I remember thinking to myself, as I watched his truck speed off, shivering, what an ass…a married ass.

Later, at work, I would ask him, “Why don’t you act like a married man?” But that’s for another story…

3 Year Anniversary with California

 

Exactly a year ago, I was in rehearsals for Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of Annie. I was playing Grace Farrell, my first lead in California. I got to work with Norman Large and Sally Struthers. It was one of the most memorable show experiences I had had at the time and felt so blessed to be apart of it! Sally Struthers playing Miss Hannigan and me

Playing Grace Farrell led me to my first agent, Steven Dry, with Connor Ankrum & Associates. He started me out on my first run of auditions. The first one sucked. I completely screwed it up. It was my first audition where I actually knew that when I turned and exited through the door, I wanted to shoot myself and bury myself in a hole. It was stupid-dumb-bad. And to make matters worse for myself, it was the first audition I had that my agent scheduled me for. I wanted to cry.

I redeemed myself, not right away, but eventually. As the months passed, the auditions were few and far between. It was a slow season for the theater world. Equity houses were closing down without hope of reopening. Union actors were leaving the union just so they could get more work. It wasn’t looking good for California theater. It still isn’t…

Nonetheless, the shows must go on…I don’t know how, but they will.

A few months more went by and I finally signed with my first commercial agency, Brady Brannon and Rich. So I experienced my first round of commercial auditions and callbacks. Let me tell you!!! They are SOOOOO easy. You don’t have to prepare ANYTHING. Just show up and look right. Such a change compared to all my theater auditions, where you have to prepare 16-32 bars of an up-tempo and ballad, bring dance clothes, dance shoes, and whatever else they may want you to do.

I didn’t land a commercial yet, but had mostly callbacks, so I thought that wasn’t too shabby.

Around winter time, I had finally made a good group of awesome friends. I hadn’t really made any since I had moved; I got close to some, but didn’t find anyone I could trust yet. So I finally found some people I could love AND trust. At the same time, I also lost contact with my friend and ex The Terminator. The confusing relationship finally reached its end since I had moved out to California.

During this time, I had met William Shatner. I actually got to hang out with him ON SET, Bill and mebeing apart of the crew. My life was complete at that point. If I had died the next day, I wouldn’t have cared. I also got asked out by four different crew guys that same day. Overwhelmed would definitely be the word for THAT.

For a while there, I wasn’t landing any shows. I was getting callbacks, but nothing after that. It was a serious dry spell. But a part of me was grateful for it. I had time for other things in my life that I normally wouldn’t have if I were in a show. The show-life takes up MOST of your time. Eventually, I was invited to audition for The Movie Guys, a comedy webisode about movies ‘n such. I got in and was able to become SAG-eligible, something I had been thinking pretty close to impossible considering I wasn’t really doing any union related stuff until then.the movie guys

I was ecstatic that I had the ability to call up SAG and say, “I wanna sign up and pay my dues!” I couldn’t believe that doing New Media was a way in.

And then, just to mess with me, my “dark side” decided to come out and be a pain, and I started cutting again. I hadn’t sliced up my leg since I was in college, so it was a serious wake-up call when it happened again at 26 years old. I finally accepted the fact that I was born with something I had no control of. I wasn’t allowed to take any more birth control, according to the nurses, because of the severe depression I was feeling again. They took me off it, and then put me on Prozac again. I hadn’t been on it for a while, but after my bad cutting experience (taking a butter knife at work and going at it on my right leg), I decided it was best to stay on the Prozac indefinitely.

Once I accepted my “craziness,” (as I like to call it), I felt a sense of equilibrium. And, funny enough, things started making sense and being good again. I got cast in The Music Man, playing Marian Paroo, which was one of my dream roles. A friend of mine told me to Lida Roseaudition, and I got it. It really is about WHO you know. I wouldn’t have known about the audition if my friend hadn’t told me about it. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I got the part.

From there, I got another lead in a show, Abigail Adams in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of 1776 the Musical. I COULDN’T believe it! I wanted to play her so badly, I was beyond shocked and thrilled that I actually got cast.1776

I began a working-out life style I thought I’d never have. I started Cardio Barre with my roommate. I started running, something I used to HATE all my life, and now love it! I FINALLY achieved my Victoria’s Secret stomach goal, which I had been wanting to reach since I was 14 years old. Took living with a stunt woman with rock-hard abs to actually push me.

And on top of all this, my romance life became interesting after nearly a year of zilch. Sure, I had been meeting people like The Bartender from Bogie’s, and the crew guys from Shatner’s shoot, but no one I actually felt like spending time with.

But then came Mr. Big (MY version, not Sex and the City’s version). And then Mr. Spock. And then Blue Shirt (aka, possibly Skywalker). All of which I have very unusual relationships with. Two of them are close friends, one of them closer in a more physical way, and the third is one I’m technically dating (as in a date once a week kinda thing). ALL wonderful!!!! I’ve become sort of a Queen Bee, giving my love to all my little worker bees…although I’m really not sure what I’m doing at all. In all honesty, at this time in my life, I admit I have a serious problem with monogamous relationships. But we all go through this at one point or another, right? I panic at the idea of being tied down to just one person right now. And not one guy in my life that I’ve been with seriously has deserved my loyalty, so why try to be loyal at all? I guess I’m answering myself with this one…the one who does deserve it will be the one to marry. WELL I’m not even CLOSE to that, so game on! Time to really live out my loving side. I might as well be a futuristic hippy.

Last night was a perfect ending to my 3 year anniversary with California: a whim on the beach that only happens in your dreams. I had a found a secret entrance to a private beach in Malibu, and a small group of friends and I ventured out into the dark of the night, stripped down to our skimpies and played in the ocean, all the while, of course, wondering if Jaws was laying in wait. It was the whim of the year!

And so the adventures continue! By the way, Cali, did I ever tell you that I love you? Well, I do. Happy 3 years and may the fourth one be ever in my favor!

Stargirl: part 2

 

Superman Returns by John Ottman

Listen while you read.

stargirl

I left Earth once.

I was sixteen years old and I was standing on Endor’s fourth moon, surrounded by the dark jungle of giant trees, smelling the damp earth rise from beneath my shoes, and the warm air, still and clingy, engulfing me as I watched Luke finish building the fire pit. He didn’t want help when I offered.

In the distance, I could hear the Ewok and Rebel Alliance celebration: singing, cheering, the clanging of instruments.

I was still in my shimmery red gown, smelling of burnt skin and silk. My flesh felt like it was pulled so tightly over my frame that if I dared to move, it would split and spill my insides out.

Luke didn’t seem to notice his similar injuries. He had finished the fire grave and was levitating his father’s body on top. And then he lit it with a torch. Fire enveloped the wood and soon Darth Vader’s body, the terror of the galaxy, his ashes floating up into the sky.

Luke stood watching in solemn silence. I moved to stand next to him. He didn’t seem to notice me there. I felt his sadness, but beneath it was a sense of hope. It was finally over. And he hadn’t failed. He saved the only father he’d ever known to have, even if their reconciliation lasted for only a few minutes. There was hope still, for him, Leia, Han, and the Alliance. Where they would go from here, who knew?

“I’ll be leaving soon after the celebration,” I said quietly. I had decided my time in this universe had ended. But Luke wouldn’t know that. He would only think I was to disappear somewhere in his galaxy. It didn’t matter what he thought, after all. My adventure—my experience—was over. I had learned what it was like to be outside my world and that I couldn’t change the things to come.

“I’m sorry—“ but that’s all I could make out. What I was going to say sounded stupid and pointless. He won’t care that I tricked him into thinking I was someone else (and I really was someone else anyhow) because he wouldn’t remember me after I left.

I looked at him, his melancholy profile shadowed in firelight. He didn’t look back. This was as close as I’d ever be. And he hated me. I didn’t sense it, so to speak, but I might as well have guessed it.

Without another word, I turned and left Luke alone in the red-orange firelight and returned to the Ewok village. I wanted to feel what the others felt (joy, love, real happiness) before I left.

The celebration was wild and jumping. The bearlike Ewoks singing in a language I could not understand, but it felt like victory words. Leia, Han, the Wookie Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian all gathered in a tight circle, laughing, embracing. Wedge Antilles and the other Rogue Squadron pilots stood off to another side, clapping each other’s backs, playfully pushing each other around. They paid no attention to the girl in the red dress, obviously overdressed and sticking out like a warning beacon in the midst of browns, greens and greys. They didn’t care. The battle was won. But the Empire wasn’t beaten yet. It still had control of the capitol planet, Coruscant, and it was the Alliance’s job to overtake it. That would happen on another day, though.

Tonight, they drank, ate, and cheered each other and their survival.

I stood off to the side, watching in wonderment. R2-D2, the silver and blue astromech droid, bumped into my leg. I glanced down and smiled. R2 tweeted and cooed at me, and remained at my side.

“Luke!” I heard Han call out.

And there he was, smiling and embracing his sister Leia, coming in for another by Han Solo. Everyone gathered around Luke, relief flooding through those who hadn’t known if Luke had survived the destruction or not.

It was time, I thought. I turned away, but then in front of me, flickering into view were the soft white-blue silhouettes of Ben Kenobi, Yoda, and then, finally, Anakin Skywalker. They were looking right at me, smiling. I thought they wouldn’t have recognized me, but somehow they knew who I was.

Then I noticed Luke standing directly beside me. I hadn’t even realized it until he turned to smile at me. All the hurt was gone. He seemed more at peace now.

“Where will you be going?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I said, although I knew exactly where I was going. “Somewhere away from all of this. To start a new life, I suppose. The Empire will think their only other rightful heir was also killed in the destruction of the Death Star. The Moffs will be fighting for power. It’ll be the perfect time for me to disappear.”

Luke nodded slowly, then said, “You could stay here, with the Alliance. They could use someone with your knowledge. It will definitely help the tide of the war.”

I shook my head no. “I’m not sure if that would be a good idea. If I were discovered alive…well, let’s just say the Moffs won’t stop to try to kill me and anyone near me.”

Luke then turned me to face him, his blue eyes full of sincerity and confidence. “You are now exactly how I met you. Alone, your family killed. If you stay with us, you’ll have somewhere to be. You can start again. Think about it, Christalee. And if you still don’t think it’s a good idea, you can always leave any time you want.”

I wanted to stay, more than anything. Looking into his ocean-blue eyes, I felt suddenly like I belonged, that this was where I was meant to be…maybe…possibly. I smiled and Luke embraced me in a warm hug.

“Come on,” he said brightly, “I’ll introduce you to Leia and Han.”

***

I decided to try it for a couple of days, to see how long I could stay in this universe. Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months, and before I knew it, I was apart of a culture I only ever dreamed of. Luke and I had agreed to keep my identity as the Imperial Princess a secret, even to Leia and Han. I became a Rogue Squadron leader, fighting alongside Wedge Antilles, helping break through the security defenses of Corsucant and fighting the Empire into a little corner of the galaxy. This took years, of course, and before I knew it, I was in my late twenties. I had helped bring up the New Republic after the Empire had been finally beaten. I became Leia’s personal aide and guard when she became Chief of State. When I wasn’t with Leia, I was with Luke, helping him create the Jedi Academy. There were many times when I tried to leave, or when I thought it was a “good idea” to leave. Luke and I would have an argument about his decisions. I would tell him not to do something, or not to trust somebody, and he would fight with me on my reasons. Those reasons being because I couldn’t give him one. I couldn’t tell him how I knew certain things were to happen because I would give away my real identity: which was that I didn’t belong there.

I knew bits and pieces of the future, but it didn’t help. I would save Luke’s life in extremely impossible situations, and he’d wonder how I did it. It pained me that I couldn’t let him know who I really was, or how I was able to seem invincible. And I wondered on that too, how I was able to have nearly unlimited power. The longer I stayed in Skywalker’s world, the more powerful and knowledgeable I became. I slowly began to forget home, becoming fully integrated into this other world.

Before long I was in my thirties. Luke and I had become very close friends, but there was something else. There was romance somewhere, but we both buried it far below. I knew Luke was afraid to let anything more happen between us because of his bad luck with women (every romantic relationship he’d ever had either ended up in betrayal of the worst kind: assassination attempts, death, or mysterious disappearances). I was afraid because I knew I’d have to leave someday.

Luke and I were two of a handful of Jedi Masters at this point, with an academy going strong. Leia and Han had been married and had three children who attended the academy. I was still involved in the political affairs of the New Republic, splitting my time between the Jedi Academy and the capitol. Lando wanted to sweep me off my feet, much to Luke’s annoyance, and I let him take me out on a few wild space nights. Nothing that amounted to anything but a good friendship in the end.

By the time I was in my late thirties almost forties, I had resigned as a personal aide, left the academy temporarily to embark on some “legal” smuggling missions with Mara Jade and Talon Karrde. A year flew by and I had been out of touch with Luke, Leia, and Han. Then a rescue mission forced Luke and I back together. That was when we had decided to forget about our inhibitions (that made no sense anyhow!) and allow ourselves to grow into more than just “close friends.” This rescue mission had me nearly drowning in cave of water when Luke openly cried out, “I love you.”

I found it to be perfect timing.

In all this time, I had been kidnapped, tortured, stabbed, brainwashed, seduced, shot, enslaved, hunted, and exiled.

And in all this, I had fallen in love.

Then the Yuuzhan Vong came, an alien race from another galaxy that existed outside of the Force, and they nearly wiped out our civilization, changing our planets to adapt to their lifestyle. The darkest years of our lives painfully crept by. Every day knowing you survived was a day to be grateful. But then you feared to sleep. Leia lost her youngest son to the Vong. Chewbacca was also lost. Jacen, Leia’s oldest son, and I were captured during a near-fail mission to eradicate one of the Vong’s most brutal weapons to the Jedi: acid spitting wolf-like creatures undetectable by the Force. Jacen was tortured, but after a year, he escaped. I was tortured as well, and became the plaything for the fleet commander Warmaster Tsavong Lah. He was fascinated by the Jedi and the “magic” we could wield. So he kept me as a pet on a leash. I eventually escaped, stabbing the warmaster straight through the heart with his own amphistaff.

Through the years of fighting for our lives, our homes, our planets, Luke and I had a child: a boy we named Ben. I couldn’t believe it! I had a little boy with little blue eyes and a little nose and a little mouth, little feet, hands, toes and fingers.

I never felt anything like it. The feeling of overwhelming love. The connection I felt with him through the Force was unimaginable. He was my child. Every day was a wonder—and a nightmare, because the war hadn’t ended yet. An animalistic side in me grew when I fought against the Vong. I wanted to wipe them out, one by one, so that my baby could grow up in a safer place. I refused to lose my child the way Leia lost hers.

Suddenly the tides had turned, and we finally had the upper hand. After finding a solution between our two peoples, that solution being a living planet called Zonama Sekot, which seemed to be a portion of their homeworld, a wary peace finally spread across the galaxy.

Sitting across from my child playing in our apartment on Ossus, the new home for the Jedi Academy, I watched him attempt to levitate a ball off the floor. He was barely two years old. It reminded me of when I was two years, sitting next to my cousin, fighting over a doll she thought best to pull away from me. My mother surprising both of us. I froze, thinking I was in trouble for “not sharing.” But then my mother pulled out a camera and flashed us with a bright light. Just a picture. She only wanted a picture. So I’m not in trouble after all—

Mother? What mother? I was grown in a tube. —No you weren’t, you were grown in a womb.

I sat, watching my son lift the ball successfully into the air, smiling and giggling as he let it bounce back to the floor.

“I could never do that at two,” I said to Ben, smiling. Ben looked over to me, a wide smile spreading across his face, a few baby teeth glistening in the pale yellow sunlight which flooded the room from the large viewport.

“Momma!” he burst, then crawled towards where his ball rolled away to.

Of course you couldn’t at two because there is no such thing as the Force where you’re from.

I frowned. Where am I from? Coruscant. No. Corellia. No!

I was forty-six years old, with a two year-old child, and—No you’re not! You are not forty-six. Forty-four? No. Forty? No!

Well then WHAT AM I ???

I sat in silence. Ben was staring at me, a tiny little crease indenting his forehead. His big blue eyes showed worry. I gasped in air suddenly, realizing I had not been breathing for a handful amount of seconds, and tears began to burn my eyes. I’m not from here.

“Ben—“ But I stopped, my throat closing in on me. I already knew what needed to be done. I had stayed too long, far too long. I took Ben into my arms, pressing him tightly against my chest, and rushed to a neighboring apartment, one where Ben had spent many nights when Luke and I were away on missions.

Corran Horn’s son, Valin answered the door. Valin was a Jedi Knight. I told him I had to find Master Skywalker quickly and that it was very important. Ben’s little fingers gripped my shirt-blouse and wrapped into my long golden blonde hair. When I tried to place Ben in Valin’s arms, he pulled a part of me with him.

“Mommy,” he called out. He could sense my despair and knew something was wrong. His tiny fingers reached out for me. Valin held Ben tightly, but was becoming worried himself. Valin must have been only thirteen or fourteen.

OR MAYBE SIXTEEN!!!

“No!” I barked. And I realized I made Valin jump away, scaring Ben too. “I’m sorry, Valin. I’m sorry, Ben. It’ll be okay,” I said. My eyes began to burn again. “Valin, I want you to contact Mara Jade quickly. Tell her that—“ My throat closed again. I swallowed a couple of times until it cleared somewhat. “Tell her that I need her to watch over my son.”

I turned away as fast as I could before the look on Ben’s desperate, round face changed my mind. I had to go home. I felt something was wrong there. I had to get back to my family, to my life that I once knew, but couldn’t seem to remember too well.

You don’t belong here. You never have…

I kept going, even as I heard Ben crying for me to come back, and made my way to my ship, the Starfire. From there I sent Luke an urgent message with coordinates for a meeting place.

When I finally arrived on the Sanctuary Moon of Endor, I landed my ship in a field clearing. Exiting the Starfire, I walked up to a hill that looked over into a valley of forest. The breeze was cooler for Endor this time of year. I could still hear the distant tribal hunting calls of the Ewok, the smaller, more subtle clicks of the insects, and the rustle of leaves and creaking tree trunks as the wind played gently through them.

“You know I can feel your panic from thousands of kilometers away,” Luke said from behind me. “’Urgent’ message is rather redundant, don’t you think?”

I smiled. He was nervous. He knew I was thinking of doing something. I could barely hide anything from him these days—these years!

“Where are you going, Christalee?” he said. He was now directly behind me. I could feel his warmth radiate off of him. And I was going to have to give this up?

I turned slowly to look at him, his deep blue eyes accented by subtle creases of age, his mouth bent into a soft smile, but there was tension behind it.

“You know how you’ve always wanted to know how I know things?” I started. “Things that I knew would happen and did happen. And I said to you that I couldn’t tell you. It used to drive you crazy.”

“Yes,” he nodded, still smiling. “I remember. And I decided to stop pressing you about it because I figured eventually you would tell me.” He pulled me in close, wrapping his arms around my waist. “Is this that time?”

I looked up into his eyes, my throat constricting on me again. I swallowed hard, my face hardening as I did so.

Luke’s smile melted away. But his body stayed calm, no twitching of nervous muscles, and he kept a solid grip around my waist.

“Yes,” I barely made out. I cleared my throat again. “Yes, this is that time.”

Luke stayed silent.

“I am not who you think I am,” I continued, and as I spoke, I slowly slipped from Luke’s embrace. “I wasn’t supposed to be here this long.”

Luke kept quiet, but I could see the multitude of questions forming on his face.

“The night we met on Endor was supposed to be it,” I said. “But I stayed because I wanted to know what it was like to be a part of this—your—world. The longer I stayed, the harder it was to leave. I fell in love with this place. And I fell in love with you. And it seemed as if everything was okay here, that I was allowed to be here. I forgot about where I came from and the life that I had had. I made a life with you. With Leia and Han. Chewie and Lando. I didn’t want to let it go.

“But the longer I stayed here, the more my world fell away. My world is in danger now and I have to go back. I have to help save it.”

Luke was dumbfounded. “I don’t understand,” he said. “What world? What danger? Let me come with you to help you—“

“No, that’s the thing, you can’t,” I said, and a sudden serenity fell over me, even as I saw the panic grow in Luke’s deep blue eyes. “Where I’m going, you can’t follow. Our two universes can never meet.

“Let me show you who I really am.” I took a step back and a white-gold shimmer haloed around my body. My face, lined with the same age as Luke’s, dissolved into my younger self, and the jumpsuit I wore was replaced by jeans and a simple t-shirt. Then I pointed towards an empty spot on the hill. White light shot from my fingers and opened up a portal. Inside the portal was, at first, black with stars, then, rising into view, my home planet.

Luke stood in completely awe, watching a blue and green planet merge into view on the other side of the portal.

“This is where I’m from,” I said, wistfully watching as the image moved past the planet’s atmosphere, through thick white clouds, racing over the blue-black oceans, reaching city-scape, forests, rolling dunes, deserts, mountains, and then—

“My home,” I said, as a medium-sized house flew into view. “I’m from Earth.” I turned to Luke.

He stood there, unable to move, a deeply sad understanding sinking onto his visage.

“And I can’t come with you,” he said, and it wasn’t a question.

I shook my head no. “It’s too far away from here,” I said. “Luke, I never belonged in your universe. I have to go back and save my world.”

“Don’t do it,” he said suddenly, moving forward ever so slightly, as if afraid one more step would make me run. “Don’t leave us. You can’t.”

I went to him, wrapping my arms around his neck, knowing that this was it, that this was my last chance to feel this, before it all went away.

“Luke, when I leave…” my voice trailed off. I cleared my throat. “After I leave, you won’t remember this.”

“No, you can’t—“

“You won’t remember anything and all will be as it should be,” I said firmly. “The way it was meant to be. But I will always love you. Know that.” I choked and my eyes burned so hotly that I couldn’t stop the tears this time.

“You and Ben will always feel loved,” I continued brokenly, “even if you don’t know where it’s coming from.”

“Don’t…” And then I kissed him before he could try to say anymore. I knew this was my last chance, my last kiss, my last moment to feel this way, before reality sucked me into the portal. It was beyond anything I could imagine, this feeling. Kidnapped, tortured, stabbed, brainwashed, seduced, shot, enslaved, hunted, exiled, and loved.

And loved back.

I broke the connection. I stepped towards the portal. My home was in there. The sun was shining bright in both worlds. The wind picked up, a burst of pine rode with it, and it was even cooler this time in my Earthling t-shirt. I looked back at Luke one last time before stepping through. Clad, still, in all black, his lightsaber dangling at his side, his brown hair ruffled by the wind, and his blue eyes glittering brightly in the sunlight.

“Christanna,” he said. How did he know my real name? “Will you remember?”

I smiled. “I’ll remember everything.” I stepped through the portal.

***

I was back.

I was nineteen years old. I stood standing in the gravel outside my parents’ house. Time had passed by, but not a lot. The sun beat hotly on my skin and I felt a trickle of sweat trail down my spine.

“Mom? Dad?” I called out. No one was home yet. That was usual. I wondered if they even knew I was gone. That I went to the stars and back.

I looked behind me where the portal had been. There was no trace of it. As if it never happened. But I remembered everything.

Sweat built up on my brow, I made myself move towards my parents’ house and go inside—shut the door—waited for them to come home—and never looked back.

But, every once in a while, I’d look up.

Romantic Prelude

Romantic Prelude

I was at Bogie’s tonight.

This place held a special memory in my heart, considering I had met an extraordinary man there, whom I ended up falling in love with throughout the months we dated. (Yes, yes, I know it’s the place where cougars and divorced—or not-so divorced—men try to, ahem, “hook up.”) In any case, when that relationship disappeared into distant memory, I continued to Bogie’s to prove to myself I could go there without “the man” in mind, and to also prove to myself that I liked the place after all. I created Girls’ Nights and occasions to attend the casual Westlake lounge.

There was a bartender, charming and generous. He treated us girls with affection and unlimited alcoholic beverages. I liked him. Not because of the free drinks in a place where a martini would cost 14 dollars. I liked him because of the sparkle in his eyes; because of the slow, scoundrel-like smile that spread across his Italian, yet baby-face expression; because of how relaxed I could feel around him when he closed his arms around me in a warm, soft embrace and then the gentle kiss on my cheek, and the murmur he would say to me, “Please come back and I’ll buy you dinner.”

I liked him.

But I would never go there alone. The idea seemed embarrassing, even though I had in the past gone out to dinner by myself. But this was purely to see a man, FOR a man, to attract a man. Every time I imagined showing up to the bar by myself to see the handsome and charming bartender, I foresaw other beautiful girls sitting by themselves all waiting for the attention of the same young, Italian, baby-faced man. And, every time, I would convince myself that this man would never want me out of all the other beautiful options.

After all, I am a nerd. I am not the typical woman. I spend my off times either reading, writing Star Wars, or watching Star Trek episodes in order (or any science-fiction in that respect). I am an obsessive person. I discover things I like, or dislike, and obsess over them until there is nothing left to obsess about.

For approximately eight months, I have had random acquaintance with this enchanting young bartender. Sometimes at his work, sometimes at mine, and he even had the off-chance of meeting my father, spurring a BMW conversation while Dad was waiting for me to finish one of my shows. How one interacts with my parents is HUGE to me, and apparently the young bartender did reasonably well at the time, enough to be logged into my father’s memory. That’s a good bartender, Dad must’ve thought.

And as much as my crush compelled me to want him, I did not pursue. In the past, I had experienced negative results anytime I had pursued a man. They always disappeared. So I was tentative and rather discouraged to even show this young man that I was even interested in him.

Then, came the whimming itch. My whimming itch usually occurs when I feel ultimately down in life, discouraged in everything I do, and the feeling of “nothing to lose” comes to play.

I had been feeling this way for the past month, since the start of the new year. Somehow, my positive streak had dived down into negative, and I went sour. I worked non-stop and auditioned with no luck. Everything felt like crap. Then, one day at work, after months of not seeing The Bartender, or even thinking of him, he appeared. He had wrapped his arms around me and said, “Did you ever get my message? I had called your work to find you. To tell you not to come in when I had asked you to because I wouldn’t have been there. They switched my days. Did you ever get it?”

“I did,” I said, “and I texted you to say that it was okay, but I never got a response. I assumed it was the wrong number.”

And it was, just barely by a single misplaced numeral. About a month ago, I had remembered him asking me to come see him and that he would treat me dinner. Later, I had gotten the “cancel” message from work and was given the wrong number. But I had let it go, figuring this wasn’t meant to be in the first place.

And there he was again. At MY work, telling me he was sorry the shifts changed, that he’d hoped I got his message and that he wanted me to come in again THIS week.

Why would a person, as charming, vibrant, handsome and AVAILABLE as he be so persistent? I always imagined him surrounded by beautiful girls so that he would never need to persist.

And I know guys. A guy doesn’t go out of his way to find a girl without some sort of mission, however simple that mission may be.

So, when the time came, I almost didn’t go out. I knew that if I went to Bogie’s alone that I would be accosted by numerous, unrelenting old divorced (or MARRIED) men. I knew that I wouldn’t really be able to spend any time with The Bartender because he would be busy working.

Then I decided, what the hell. I’ve got to do something mysterious and exciting in my life, or else I’ll go nuts.

I dressed myself in sheer black stockings dotted with tiny hearts, a thin cream-pink shirt-dress with a black lace back, and black suede stiletto pumps. I have all these great clothes and never get the chance to wear them. So I did tonight.

When I showed up at Bogie’s around eight, the place was already full. I sat near a fire pit and waited for The Bartender to see me. He did and he smiled. He was very busy, though, as I knew he would be. Nonetheless, he was able to come over and say hello. He brought me a French martini, one of those pink vanilla flavored ones, and I ordered the Ahi Tuna Tartar. I sat by the fire pit enjoying my drink, trying to look busy on my phone, but all the while watching him work. There were three older men that night that tried to get my attention.

The first: Ken Something from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

“Are you really sitting here by yourself, alone?” he asked.

I said, “I’m actually here by invitation.” And I gestured to The Bartender.

“The Bartender?!” he exclaimed. Then he went on to say something about helping me out, or that he was looking for someone new because he and his girlfriend might be breaking up at some point, and that he’ll let The Bartender know that I like him, etc. I didn’t care what happened. The man had obviously plenty to drink. He continued to stress about how I might recognize him, which I didn’t. And not that it would have mattered anyhow. I had my eyes on The Bartender.

The second: Something Something married man. I didn’t bother to remember his name.

“Please tell me you’re not really here to watch the basketball game, right?” he said, gesturing to the game I was distracted by.

“No, you’re right. I’m actually here for The Bartender. He invited me to come out to see him tonight,” I said, as I sipped on my second drink, a smooth Pinot Noir.

“The Bartender?!” he bellowed. Then he went on to talk about himself, and how he wished he had a redhead to buy tomato soup for (I was currently nursing a tomato bisque at the time). I listened patiently, but not really paying any attention. My ears were picking up another conversation to my right from a couple deeply intrigued with each other.

It was obvious they had met that night, and the man was trying his very hardest to be agreeable, mysterious, troubled, smart, and a “good guy” all at the same time. There were a few times I couldn’t contain my laughter every time he proclaimed something only a woman would WANT to hear from a guy, proclamations undoubtedly quoted from all the other women he’d picked up in the past: “I’ve been bad before, but I truly believe in really knowing a person before sharing something as intimate as sex with them…as much as I enjoy it…I have been bad before, but I strive to be good…” The man might as well be saying, “Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit,” and the woman probably would still be interested.

Then I was brought back to my unfortunate conversation with Something Something, when suddenly The Bartender met my gaze. He looked at me as if to ask if I was okay. A gave him a smile to assure him that I could handle it and to not worry about me.

Something Something eventually left (although he had come back for a second try until realizing I wasn’t cracking).

Finally The Bartender came over to me, as the lounge began to wither to only a few.

Leaning over the bar and grasping my hands in his, he said, “This place is too dangerous for you. Next time you should bring a wingman.”

But I hadn’t wanted to bring anyone else with me. I only wanted to see him and wanted his attention only on me, not on another beautiful wingman. Besides, he had asked for ME to come, not me “and my friends.”

“I’m sorry I’ve been so busy,” he said, his voice silky and sweet, always drawing a smile from me.

“It’s okay,” I said. “I’ve been fairly amused by the people around me. Besides, I needed to come out and relax a little.”

“Let me make it up to you,” he said, still grasping my hands in his. “A real dinner where I’m not working. And we’ll do something fun.”

“That sounds great,” I said, my smile brightening. Boy, had I been waiting for him to ask, from the first day I saw him. So we swapped numbers and then, before I knew it, he was swept back up into work.

That’s when man number 3 came into play.

He was married just like man 2, but this one was much more harmless. He began asking me questions about what it was like to be an only-child, that he had a daughter he was worried about not growing up happy because she, too, was an only-child. That marriage was so hard, especially when he travelled so much. And he just wanted to know what it was like for me.

I told him I’d always been happy, and, though my parents were always away throughout my growing up years, I never questioned their love for me. That they were honest with me, which helped me to trust them as I grew older. And I was completely aware of my parents’ difficult marriage.

“I guess one of the most important keys in marriage is to always strive to be kind to one another, no matter how stressed out you are, how hurt or angry you are. It’s always easier to attack the person closest to you. So striving to show kindness regardless of the situation can very well keep a marriage safe.” I said this, although I wasn’t sure where all that came from, and watched the expression on this man’s face go from worried to an almost bewildered yet peaceful countenance.

“You are wise beyond your years,” he murmured, shaking his head, as if surprising himself that he said it at all.

“No I’m not,” I said. “It’s just something my mother taught me. I have yet to experience what marriage is like.”

“Thank you, anyway,” he said. “I feel better talking to you. I have to leave now. Have a goodnight. And thank you.”

And man number 3 left, just like that.

And I was alone at the bar. The Bartender was busying himself with closing tabs. There were two other men at the far end of the bar that tried to invite me to join them, but I firmly told them I was here WITH The Bartender.

“I’ve been using you as an excuse,” I later told him.

He smiled. “Good. Thank you so much for coming in anyway. I hope it was somewhat enjoyable.”

“It was,” I said. “Thank you for treating me. I hope we can do something outside of Bogie’s next time.”

“Me too.”

I got up to leave and he gave me a big hug and a quick kiss on the mouth. I found it interesting how relaxed and natural I felt in his arms. There didn’t seem to be any awkwardness that usually accompanies two people who barely knew each other.

When I arrived home, I received a text from The Bartender saying, “Thank you beautiful for coming in tonight! Xoxo!”

I smiled as I climbed into bed. Whether or not he ever decides to call me, it didn’t matter. It felt good to feel attractive again. It felt good that I made myself whim again. It felt good that the unknown was out there again. He had my number now. Who knows if he’ll use it. But it’s fun to know it’s out there. And never knowing what might happen is the beauty of a whim, and a possible prelude to a romance.

Year 2 is done, Year 3, here we go!

Driving to Simi Valley on September 10th, 2009.

Tomorrow marks my two year anniversary with California. And, boy, did it fly. The first year was filled with fun, friends, and my romance with the Terminator.The Terminator and I had two internships with a PR and management company. I also did two shows that year: the monologue show Sex, Relationships, and Sometimes Love by Joelle Arqueros and Cabrillo Music Theatre’s production of Cinderella. During my first year, I was still getting the handle of the Los Angeles freeway system (mainly their illogically random on and off ramps) and trying to make new friends seemed more difficult since I wasn’t in school. A fellow coworker at the time even had said, “You won’t make it one year here.” He was drunk when he’d said that, so I didn’t take him seriously. In any case, those kinds of comments only make me fight harder to prove they are wrong.

By the end of the first year, I felt in limbo. I’m a very impatient person and, because of this, I felt I hadn’t accomplished anything. I had to keep reminding myself that these things take time, that I can’t become successful within just ONE year. My relationship with the Terminator ended in the summer as well. He had been the only close friend I had made, so the loss brought me back to square one when concerning friendships.

anne, shaneen, and meAnd so I got to work. At the start of my second year, I ended up becoming very close with Anne from work. Shaneen, Alisha, and a few others became close as well. It was nice finally having some girlfriends.

The beginning of my second year, I also discovered I was not invincible to the dangers of dating, learning the lesson quickly never to get drunk alone with a guy you barely knew.

Then a week later, still fuming over my bad date, a few of my girlfriends made me go out to a lounge bar, Bogie’s, to lighten my spirits. Although, a bar filled with men was the last place I wanted to be. But that’s when I met Mr. Georgia, a producer for television. And so began a multitude of whimming adventures! My first private jet experience, my first Las Vegas high-life experience, the Magic Castle, the Getty Museum, Dom Perignon champagne. There was always something new to look forward to. Needless to say, I got swept.

S7303320Then there were those tender moments that really swept me. The kind that made you feel like you never felt that way before. You know, the “oh my gosh, is this it?” feeling. I can honestly say I had never had that feeling before, so it definitely took me by surprise. This was also my first experience dating a man who already had had a previous married life and a child. My mother had always told, from experience, to not get involved with divorced men, that my life would be very hard and almost unbearable. But then again, my parents’ romance is the foundation to how I look at my own romance. Although they had a rough first 8 or 9 years, they have one of the happiest, most passionate and romantic marriages I’ve ever known. I want that.

Half way through my second year, I experienced the “in love” feeling. In the past, it used to be inconceivable to me. So, with much consult with my mother, I allowed myself to admit that I was in love with Mr. Georgia. I like to mark that moment in my personal history. It was so unreal, I couldn’t believe it was happening.

Then it was gone. Not the feeling, but the relationship. Timing, I suppose…Mr. Georgia did not feeling the same way…it could be a number of things. I don’t think I’ll ever get a straight answer, but it doesn’t really matter in the end. I’m just happy I got to experience that used-to-be enigma of a feeling. Also helps with my acting. Another experience I can add to my list.

From their, I suddenly became audition addicted. I was still healing from the loss of Mr. Georgia, but it lit a fire under me to find as many distractions I could grab. And what more of a perfect distraction is getting into a show. Not only would it keep me busy, but it’s a part of my career path!

That’s when I landed Funny Girl at the Downey Civic Light Opera.250371_10150195826572011_506872010_7113574_2689920_n I played a small role named Polly. It was a lot of fun, but was a hell of a drive. I experienced my first L. A. traffic too. Let me just say…agony.

At this time, I also reconnected with the Terminator. I had always wished we could be friends and hated that we never talked anymore. So I called him up, told him just that, and we are good friends to this day.

On a sadder note, my Papa passed away while I was in rehearsals for Funny Girl. The smartest man in the world had finally checked out. I still have a hard time realizing I will never see him again, as if he’s still waiting for me to come visit in Arizona.

Right after Funny Girl ended, I was cast in Cabrillo Music Theatre’s The Sound of Music. S7300236But before I went into rehearsals for that, I got signed up for singing in a concert, “Salute to Valor,” in Oahu, Hawaii. I had never been to Hawaii, so another whim could now be checked off my list.

After I returned from Hawaii, my schedule was full with work and rehearsals. I started losing my close relationships with Anne and my other girlfriends. Going from work to rehearsal in one day almost EVERY day made me ache for alone time. So I was on a hiatus from the parties and “girl time” hangs.

I was infected with the career virus.

It was all I could think about. When was the next audition? What songs do I need to have ready? New headshots, I needed new headshots! I had a system. Work, work out, rehearsal and/or audition, bed. I even switched to organic and natural foods. THAT was a huge switch for me!

As soon as The Sound of Music closed, I lined up two more auditions. Both I got callbacks for and both were seriously considering me to be apart of their shows. One was an Equity house, something I’ve been needing to get into. The other was Cabrillo again, but I was up for a lead role this time.

By the end of my second year, I finally got my first lead in a musical in California. Tomorrow marks the beginning of my third year, and I start rehearsals for the role of Grace Farrell in Annie. I feel incredibly blessed.

And as happy as I am with how busy I’m keeping myself on my career path, I am much more alone in it. My friendships with many people have faded in result of my busy schedule. What bewilders me more is that I actually LIKE being alone. This applies to romantic relationships as well. I’ve found them to be more stressful than they are worth, that they aren’t any fun, and they get in the way of my freedom. Being a girl who used to wish for a boyfriend every night until she finally got one at the young age of 21, after having three serious relationships, I definitely take my wishes back. By the end of my second year, I have discovered that I am NOT any good in relationships.

Currently…

Cause, well, who knows what the future has in store…

And with THAT said, considering all the incredible adventures I embarked on during my second year, I can’t WAIT to find out what my third year will be like! Romance, heartbreak, career success and career failure, earthquakes and tsunamis, the end of the world, who knows?…I expect it all! The adventures of being alive…

The Five Stages of Death

Broken Heart Emo…as my friend Sarah calls it. I call it something else, but hers sounds cooler, so I’m borrowing it. They go as follows:

1. Depression

2. Denial

3. Anger

4. Acceptance

5. Happiness

These are the things you go through after a broken heart.Aw...

I like to break down my healing process in these simple steps. As I go through each one, I get really excited when I get closer to number 5. Therefore, I have SOMETHING to look forward to, because, as we all know, there is NOTHING to look forward to when you have a broken heart.Hilarious!

I already passed through number 1, Depression. Hate that stage the most. Always feels like the hours last for days, so you try to sleep them away, hoping that, when you wake, you’ll be at stage number 5, but no luck as you realize, waking, that it’s still day 1, stage 1. And sleeping doesn’t help either because all you have are nightmares. So you’re pretty much screwed during this stage.

Then, suddenly, stage 2 appears out of nowhere. This stage usually comes in different forms depending on the situation and person. You can either deny being hurt, find a rebound, deny that you ever felt anything at all, beg the person back thinking that it can be fixed, etc. All these things are representations of the heart not fully accepting the reality of the situation. Also a pretty crappy stage. Humiliating in many respects. Thank goodness I’m not in this one anymore.

STAGE 3!!! I like this one. For some odd reason, anger is probably one of the most satisfying feelings for me. I feel exhilarated, powerful, and strong. I feel like I can take the pain I was feeling and shove it up someone’s ass. TAKE THAT, Pain! You can’t touch me! (Don’t know why I consider this odd…really isn’t. Anger is a lot of fun.) Went through this one for a while. Moved on, though.

Stage 4, Acceptance. This one is kinda sad. Poignant, really. It’s like the ending of a really good romance movie where it didn’t work out, but, like Hollywood’s style, they leave it open-ended and somehow positive. But the acceptance stage is a good sign. It means you’re almost there. Almost back to normal. Almost back to not giving a crap about anyone, or how you are as a person. Back to being the one and only YOU that has no connections or responsibilities to anyone but yourself.

And this leads me to number 5, Happiness. Where you only think of yourself, and your life, and the friends and family that are apart of it, the people you choose to be apart of it. And this makes you happy. You no longer care about what brought you down in the first place. Happiness brings Death to everything else you felt. Death to the broken heart. Death to the depression. Death to the denial. Death to anger and acceptance. So you laugh. You laugh so hard because you haven’t in so long.

I laughed so hard tonight, my head was pounding and my side was splitting. For no apparent reason, I laughed insanity. My friend Anne thought IHappy was on drugs. I exclaimed, “No! I AM the drug!” And laughed some more. Because you survived. Because you wasted. Because you mourned over something that wasn’t dead. Because you felt sad over something that wasn’t apart of your life. Because you lied to yourself. Because you believed in someone else’s lies. Because you were gullible. Because you were stupid. Because you were everything you didn’t want to be. Because you know you’re gonna go through it again.

Because you were human. And lived.

I like stage 5.