The magician rehearses and I, alone, observe from the front row of the theater.
Assisted by two women, he plans his piece de resistance: the illusion of transformation, one woman appearing to give birth to another. Dark, terrifying, and magnificent.
In the final run through, one woman walks away, and because of my proximity, I am drawn in. The part is now mine.
“No!” I protest to no one listening. “I don’t know what to do. I’m not prepared!”
Everything around me turns to chaos: the stage manager suddenly falls ill, as does the stage hand. I am alone and the curtain is about to rise, and I have no choice but to play the role.
“Improvise”, I tell myself. “You can do it!”
Concealed beneath the cloak of mystery, my partner and I merge and appear as one entering the stage. Strobe lights cut through the dim atmosphere and the magician begins his spell, gesturing and waving cloths, and just at the right moment lifts the cloak and I’m pulled off stage, out of sight, and the new woman emerges: transformation has occurred – suddenly, magically, efficiently – and only those behind the scenes know the fear that led to this moment.
* * * *
The dream repeats itself again and again, and I toss and turn trying to shake it loose.
It makes no sense to me at first consideration, but then I see it: “All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare penned, “And all the men and women merely players.” Reluctant players at times, as I am in the dream. Improvisational players.
No matter how much we prefer to sit in the audience and watch others perform, time comes when we are called to play our part – or as, in this case, the part chooses us.
Is this what this illness is about? Am I being called to transform myself, give “birth” to a new woman? Is this an opportunity? Or am I just participating in a grand illusion?
Change is never easy. I have certainly been dragged against my will into my current state, and I know I fear that my self is lost.
I do feel as if I am playing someone else’s role; this is not supposed to be happening to me. And yet it is. And why not me?
The woman who walked away – whose role I filled – she did so because she felt too vulnerable and didn’t want to be exposed. I didn’t have that choice. I had no rehearsal. I get one shot at getting it right. What pressure I am putting on myself to succeed at this illusion of transformation.
Thank goodness for the magician’s skills. I couldn’t do it without him.
Wonder who this magician is that makes change appear as easy as 1, 2, 3. I could use some of his magic.