I’m pretty good at feeling sorry for myself Making up fake lives but nothing like, tangible Daydreaming while watching the TV Intricate combos by myself to fall asleep But alas, none of them come true No car accidents, plane crashing No six o'clock news Just me and my too-far-away TV
Charlie felt faint. If he hadn’t been sitting down on the couch on stage, he knew for certain he would have collapsed right then and there. How he had managed to get through the play this far was beyond him. More or less he had been on autopilot, just going through the motions, doing his best to make it to the end. God, he just had to make it to the end and he would be done with the show for the evening. He could go and run to his dressing room and hide from the world around him.
“The house felt so big, and I..And I knew there would be moments that I’d miss.”
Rachel was singing her heart out to him, pouring out everything she had - though this performance was so very different than all the others. Both of them were in tears. Both of them were so very near to being a sobbing mess. Charlie’s fingernails bit into his hands as he sat there, watching as the tears poured down Rachel’s face as she sang to him. The people in the audience thought she was crying for show. They thought it was all an act. But Charlie knew better. Charlie knew she was sobbing for him.
“And I knew there would be space I couldn’t fill. And I knew I’d come up short a billion different ways….And I did….And I do….And I will….But like that February day, I will take your hand, squeeze it tightly and say, There’s not another truck in the driveway…”
She came around the couch to him and curled up beside him, taking his hand in her own. She was trembling. Charlie could barely see her through the tears in his own eyes. He knew what was coming up. He knew what lines she would sing next and he knew he couldn’t take it. He would break down right there on stage in front of God and everyone and there was nothing he could possibly do to stop it. “Your mom isn’t going anywhere. Your mom is staying right here.” Images of Charlie’s mother flashed through his mind. Her holding him when he was younger. Images of her taking care of him when he was hurt or sick. “Your mom isn’t going anywhere….” Images of her when they got the news the cancer had returned. Images of her in her hospital bed at home. “Your mom is staying right here…” She hadn’t stayed. His mom couldn’t stay. She had fought the good fight for as long as she could. She had stayed for him as long as her body would let her. In the end she went quietly in her sleep. She was gone. “No matter what….I’ll be here.” And poor Rachel, she knew what kind of pain he was going through and as he sobbed against her shoulder, leaning into her, letting it all out as quietly as he could against her, she did her best to continue on with the show and get out the rest of the song.
When it was all over and done with and Charlie managed to get through the last scene and get through his bow at the end, he rushed back to his dressing room and slammed the door, half-way collapsing onto his couch and letting out heartwrenching sobs. Those kind where no sound escapes you, but the pain is there and real and raw just the same as tears come pouring down your face. He wasn’t sure how long he had been in there when he heard the door open. Without saying a word, the person who entered came and sat down beside him, wrapping their arms around him. He didn’t need to see who it was.
“I’m sorry. I’ve made a mess of things.” Charlie said shakily through his sobs. “No, you haven’t.” Roxanne said softly. “You did the best anyone could have done under the circumstances.” “I should have just let Colton go on. I knew I couldn’t do this-” “But you did. You got through it.” Roxanne hugged him tightly, leaning against him and trying to curl him into her arms the best that she could. “It’s going to be okay. You’re done for the day now. Just take a deep breath.” Charlie did as she said, but it only caused more tears to flow. As his shoulders shook and a new wave of emotions casaded over him, he turned his head away from her. Roxanne didn’t mind. She stayed with him, allowing the silence to bring them both comfort.