The building was humming with excitement. My clammy hand clutched a ticket as I milled through the mass of women, they chatted around me, smiles wide. I glanced down at my ticket. December 22nd, 2015. As I looked up, I saw a woman step out of line, her face ashen. The line moved up, so did I. The excitement increased as we got closer to the curtain. Some had never seen this show and they babbled excitedly.
I had seen this show before but I did not buy this ticket. It was given to me. I smiled politely, trying to engage in the excitement around me. We stepped closer to the long sweeping curtains. I was finally just steps away from entering the auditorium when a hand was placed on my shoulder.
“Excuse me, you are going to have to come with me.”
“No, I’ve waited a long time in this line and I’m finally near the front. I have a ticket for this show.”
“No ma’am. You need to step out of line.”
“No!” I felt my heart beginning to beat faster. “I waited here nicely. I have a ticket to this show and it’s about to start.” I thrust the ticket stub in his face. “Look, December 22nd, 2015. This is the right line and this is the right show.”
“I’m sorry, come with me.” His hand was on my elbow, trying to gently pull me from the line.
“No! I’m not moving. I did everything right! I followed all the rules for waiting in line. Take someone else. I’ve even been to this show twice before so I know all the rules for getting to see it.”
The grip on my elbow tightened and I was plucked from my spot.
“No, I was just talking to this lady, she is the same as me.” Panic was squeezing my chest, the volume of my voice rising. “And that’s my friend, see her, in line up there? She will tell you I’ve seen the show!”
“Your ticket is not for this show.”
I looked down at my clammy hand and unfurled my fingers. My red ticket had faded to grey.
“How can that be? My ticket was just fine. It was red! IT WAS RED!”
“Your ticket is no good.”
“But my ticket is for a comedy! A redemption tale. A funny story about a couple who had plans and then had to adapt but everything turns out fine in the end. I’m in the right line!!”
“No.” He said simply. Now pulled out of line, the women moved forward without me, their eyes down, embarrassed for me and aware of the scene I was causing. I looked up over the sea of hair and saw my friend. We locked eyes. She pushed forward with the throng of women. She disappeared through the doorway and behind the curtain.
“Ma’am, this is your line.”
The line headed in the opposite direction away from the gold carpet, dipping down by ramp, under the excitement of the main show. The curtain was grey. The walls were grey. The carpet, grey. I got in line behind a woman who was sobbing.
“I don’t understand why I got picked out of line. I didn’t buy a ticket to this show.” A grim faced woman turned to me.
“Nobody here bought a ticket.”
“What is this show? I had a ticket to ‘Motherhood: Comedy and Redemption.’”
“This show is called “Stillbirth and Other Losses.”
The blood drained from my face. I looked down at my grey stub and felt the blood in my toes. Stamped across December 22nd was a new date: November 7th, 2015.
My eyes came up slowly, the tears forming in my eyes. My voice quivered “Does it have a happy ending?”
She locked eyes with me, clutching her own grey ticket. She shook her head slowly, the weight of my question sinking in.
“I….I don’t know.”