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(New York)

For those of you who know me know I love Jake Gyllenhaal. Others, you know now.

I had tickets for his YOU-MUST-WATCH Broadway show, Sunday in the Park with George. My Christmas gift.

Friday, March 10, 2017

3 in the afternoon: I am contemplating what if I wrote him a letter?

Excited: I even run in the (horrible) snow to catch the 4:06, only after having decided I’d actually hand him my letter –– won’t call it fan letter –– and also have him sign my copy of The Great Gatsby.

In the train: cannot concentrate. Should I be listening to the soundtrack of his movies? Or the audiobook version of Gatsby that he did? Oh, please don’t sit beside me. It’s a two-seater. Why are you peeping into my phone? By the way, what cologne are you wearing? Should I ask her, or is that inappropriate? I should shush. I rested my head against the train window. Ah, realizing the American Dream tonight.

At the restaurant: glad, we are eating before this! Café Un Deux Trois! I order Escargot –– the one appetizer I know for sure and trust. I’ll order coffee today, can’t be too predictable. Not today. Can we scan this letter on your mobile before I hand it to Mr. G? So, I have a memory to keep. Haven’t you seen fans before? I come up with this: every Jake “Gatsby” deserves a Hardik “Carraway.” Judge me.

At the gate of the theater: open the goddamn door! This anxiety is becoming more and more annoying. I just had coffee; why should my head ache? Open the door, we came here to see the performance. Should I be taking pictures of the ceiling too? I’ll pass.

Seat: I take the middle seat; the view should be awesome! Then there are those behind me, daughters discussing with their mother how many performances they have seen of Mr. G. Makes me jealous. Makes me think my being here, even this one time, could be a thing for someone to be jealous. I have to justify my jealousy. Some other time.

He appears: finally, he appears on-stage. He looks sharp, like literally. The female lead seems blurry from the seat –– should’ve brought my glasses, too bad I don’t wear them because they hurt my head. It is hot under my eyes. People are laughing. Nothing that involves him feels funny. Shouldn’t I be laughing too? It is all so much about being in the same room with him. Jake Gyllenhaal, I mean. Not that character George. Am I going to see him in person? Oh, what happened, did I miss something? Why is Alan in tears?

Intermission: It is so much about being in the same room as him, that the thought that this is a character, not the actual celebrity, never comes in mind enough for me to react like I would if I wasn’t taken somewhere –– somewhere with Gyllenhaal, no mention of George in the park. “He’s intense.” “Brilliant.” “Radiant.” Now I am bugged, did I miss something and should have been crying too?

Act 2: I should let myself tear up now. I should, right? As a viewer? But this is not happening. Maybe when I get out and see him, I will forget that I missed a “brilliant” performance.

The show is over: Curtain calls: let me out! I said. You cannot stop me from getting out of this theatre!

At the stage door: There’s a mother-son duo from Ohio, waiting to see G, some random “artist” standing there to meet his idol and give him his art piece, –– I wouldn’t call it art; how about my letter? –– and all of them, and many more adding up soon, are waiting to see him and talking to the security guy, just because. Is he lucky? It is cold out here. And he is on duty. Not crazy. Well, I am not. On duty. Luckily.

Someone just came out: The first cast member to show up, comes out, starts giving autographs. What if I don’t want his autograph because he is not so important to me? But others are doing it, and it wouldn’t be sweet if I changed into a no-don’t-sign-my-stuff person. Here, take my program and sign it. He’s happy. He’s making rounds everywhere. Enjoying his “stardom.” I, on the other hand, am still worrying, thinking how will I react. There is a little girl, 10 years old, giving autographs, and I am like, what will happen to her in future, isn’t success something you achieve later in life? Is there more hell life’s got to offer? I feel bad for her, but she is smiling, so. I am rehearsing things. Putting phone in one hand, putting other extra programs in my coat pocket, and opening the page of Gatsby I want signed. It is tough.

He is here:––I shout, oh my god, oh my god, and then he signs the copy. I am immediately stupid. And dumb-founded. He’s not expressing anything, except a serious –– angry, tired, annoyed, or none-of-the-mentioned –– look on his face while he is making the rounds. I give him my letter, and he gives it to his personal security guy, and okay. Alan is taking our photos. Others later in the line are taking selfies with him. It hits me I should too. So, I do try to get in, people are fierce, shouting lovely compliments. The stardom, is it even valued, one may ask? The other cast member makes sure he gives time each and all of them, and it looks like he is happy, but that is a desperate position he is coming from. It is not hard to realize that I am coming from a desperate position too. I don’t like it. I like none of this. Oh, I don’t like this.

Selfie: I go up to him, take blurry selfies. Take good pics of others. Someone shouts their love for Brokeback Mountain. Suddenly I don’t want to think about any of his movies. Odd. I like his movies. Or at least I did before that sudden dislike.

Back home: In the car: there is discussion on how brilliant all of this was. So smart. The actors. The playwright. Gay, Jewish. Genius of music. I should take an acting class, right? So that my fictional characters form home in my head? No. I am trying to think how boring and tedious it is doing the same thing again and again so many times. Actors have an inner life. Where is that life? Am I missing it? Or am I not allowed to participate in the bargain system people have so set up for celebs and fans? Is it that fans have to be desperate? In the letter, I willingly admitted I love him, but once I was a step closer, the fiction bubble busted and I don’t love him anymore. Was it all just make-believe? My head is hurting really bad. I am having sorts of issues with stomach –– empty or full, whichever it be I am not feeling easy. Am I so fickle? I don’t want to talk about it, about anything.

At home: Ralph: How was your bae? No answer. And then, here, writing this out to keep a track how it went down. And hopefully getting a closure through this.

It was not a movie. It was not a concert. It was at the stage doors of a theater, I saw the real Jake Gyllenhaal and not someone I felt equal to.

Truly a Gatsby moment ––to be in Caraway’s shoes!




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