In The Depths

Loneliness is like a deep dark void, with nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. As much as I try, I just get deeper into the depths of loneliness, and into the depths of my soul. I just want to get out. I don't deserve this.

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10. Francisco

The sun begins to descend behind the blue mountains as my car cruises past the city. A stream of pink clouds gallops past, leaving a smear of orange sky behind. Turns out Harry’s friend’s theatre is thirty minutes away, not exactly convenient, but not exactly out of the way either. I don’t mind if it’s far or not; I just think it’s sweet of Harry to give me this offer.

Still, I don’t know what to expect. This may be some drug addict’s worn down shack sat smack dab in the middle of the ghetto. Or maybe it’s some top-class, famous theatre attracting hundreds of tourists daily (and nightly). I hope for the latter.

As I pull my vehicle into a parking space, I spot Harry and Will talking to each other, using tons of gesticulations. I huff, shutting the door behind me and walking through the pink and orange atmosphere towards them.

“Louis probably won’t even show up!” Harry says, throwing up his arms.

“Yes, he will! I told him to be here at six!” Will looks down at his Iron Man watch, squinting through his glasses.

“He’s not here, Will.”

“He is probably driving here now, driven by his hormones screaming, ‘Harry! Harry! I must be near my sexually attractive partner Harry!’

“Shut up,” Harry grumbles, hiding a grin.

I shove my hands into my jean pockets and get closer. Clearing my throat, I say, “Hey guys.”

“Louis!” Will grins, pushing his glasses up the width of his nose. “I knew you would make it.” He walks over to me, wrapping his arm around my shoulders and playfully punching my arm. “You ready to be a famous actor?”

“Yes,” I say, matter-of-factly. “But are you sure this is a good acting job? I mean, this is a good place, right? No nut jobs, no drugs, no mopping up the floors of the bathrooms?”

“Trust me Lou,” Harry says, walking over to us. “My friend Francisco is great. You’ll definitely get in this play.”

“How do you know?”

“I told him to let you in.”

I sigh, rolling my eyes with a smile. “He’s a nice guy?”

“Yeah,” Will perks up, taking his boney arm off me. “I’ve met him a few times. We’re tight, man. You’ll love him-well, if you don’t mind dreadlocks.”

Harry laughs, gesturing us to come in. The glass doors slide open, revealing a large front lobby. A wooden desk sits on a hardwood floor, with a computer and mouse on top of that. I notice that a brown blazer is slung over the empty chair, indicating that a person was sitting there before. Tall ceilings spread across the room, and a flight of stairs seems to lull me towards them. I read the door:

Rehearsal Studio

I’m immediately overwhelmed. My dream of being an actor may finally be pursued, after all these years. Maybe I could quit my dumb job cleaning after other people’s messes.

“Let’s go,” Harry persists. “Francisco should be up there. There are no auditions today. It’s just us four, y’know, for meeting purposes.”

“Oh,” I say, admiring pictures of men in leotards and tights. “Francisco, as in San Franciso?”

“I don’t know,” Harry says, raising his eyebrows, interested. “Good question.”

“Come on ladies,” Will groans, already halfway up the stairs. His My Little Pony Punk shirt clings to his twig frame as he waves us up. I laugh, admiring his bravery to wear such a shirt.

Harry and I rush up, and I feel a queasy sensation in the pit of my stomach: nervousness. I’ve never had an encounter with anybody as important as a musical theatre director, and I’ve never had an encounter with anybody who has had a fancier name.

The door is opened by Harry, and I marvel at what’s inside. A mirror takes up one of the walls, with pages from scripts and lines of lyrics on paper and scribbled arpeggios with expo marker on the said mirror. The walls are a sharp peach color, popping out. Outfits, props, hats, and black fuzzy lines are shoved in a corner. Caterpillars? Stick-on mustaches? Who knows?

And of course, the all famous Francisco stands in the middle of the glossy floor, dreadlocks and all. His skin is chestnut colored and his toothy grin is so white that I feel like I may be blinded. He wears a white tank top that hugs his masculine body, paired with khaki shorts, showing off his very hairy legs. His bare feet seem to say: “This is my home. I am a dancer, so don’t mess with me.”

“Hey,” I smile, holding out my hand. “You must be Francisco.”

“That is me,” he validates, giving my hand a proper shake. His booming accent is most likely Scottish. “I am glad you could make it to my theatre.”

“I’m glad to be here.” I nod my head, a strand of feathery hair falling atop my forehead.

“You’re Louis, correct?”

“Yes,” Harry chimes in, smiling.

“Harold,” Will says from the other side of the room. “I think the man could answer for himself.”

“Yeah, but-” Harry gets cut off by Will.

“You don’t have to speak for your boyfriend.”

I feel my ears turn red, and look at Francisco. He laughs, whipping his head towards Harry, who is giving Will a death stare. “Boyfriend?” Francisco prompts Harry.

“He’s not my boyfriend.”

Damn, that hurts. I clear my throat.

“I mean,” Harry obviously senses my disappointment. “I mean, we aren’t um, he…”

“Harry, it’s fine,” Francisco chuckles, turning to me. “So, have you heard that we are doing the casting of Les Miserables soon?”

“Yes,” I beam. “I’m a huge fan of the musical. It would be an honor to participate in it.”

“Great! Wonderful! What role would you be interested in?”

“You mean,” I pause. “I actually get to choose my part?”

“No,” he shakes his head. “You get to suggest to me a part. I later then choose if you are worthy of said part.”

“Oh.” I look at Harry, who is tugging at his adorable curls. “Javert, I would assume, being I am way too young for Jean.”

“Hm,” Francisco nods. “Good choice.”

And from there, my career skyrocketed.

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