“Hope is dead to me” I said.
And I didn’t mean the quiet pretty girl with perfect braids and the aubergene Club Monaco sweater who sat in front of me in grade 5.
I meant the belief that my dreams will come true. That kind of hope. Is dead.
I am not being dramatic or exaggerating for effect (for once). I am sitting on the corner of my bed talking quietly with my best friend. My head is lowered and I shrug my shoulders softly. “Hope is dead to me” I repeat like a mantra. And it feels good, to finally give up. To admit that at age twenty-three I have worked hard enough and tried long enough in making my dreams come true and now it is time to let them go. For so long I had felt like a square trying to smash herself into a hole shaped like a circle. It hurts too much. I am bruised to shit and I quit.
I have just been told that the touring kids play I auditioned for to play the superhero struggling with cancer went to another girl. It was a dream gig. $500 a week, three shows a day all before noon, travelling to small towns up north with only one motel to chose from and the Stage Manager smelt so bad the windows of the van we travelled in had to be constantly rolled down even though it was -25 in the wintertime.
I’m kidding, it was not a dream gig but it was my last attempt at acting. I had graduated from theatre school over two years before and was now working as a support staff for at- risk youth. This meant I sat in a lot of Subways and watched teenage assholes eat subs on the company dime. It’s amazing how entitled kids without parents can be. They just assume you will drive them to their work training class. They won’t even say thank you. Once though, I was with a kid in a parking lot and a Mercedes pulled into the last spot just before me. I was so fucking pissed off. The kid I was with strolled out of my car and keyed the dudes ride with such self-assuredness and calm I felt like I was watching a baby being born. It was beautiful. I really liked that guy. The rest of them were dicks who didn’t know how to do laundry.
Clearly, I was not cut out to help people in the conventional way (do you like how I am using italics to stress the irony of my statements).
So I auditioned for this show, A Bully for Nert with the hopes that I would get asked to play the part and then I could quit my joe-job and become an actor for real.
They said my voice was too gruff to play a nine year old.
Which brings me here, sitting on my bed weeping softly. You know the moment when all ambition, longing, drive and desire for change completely drains out of you? That is where I am right now. My best friend Kerri is sitting beside me and she starts to laugh.
She is bent over, holding her gut, slapping her knees, hiccupping and crying she is laughing so hard. I don’t think it is very funny.
She just can’t stop.
She laughs so hard she pees a bit.
She looks at me leaning over in pain, sad-eyed and hurting and it just makes her laugh more.
She tries to stop laughing. And then she say’s “hope is…” and starts laughing again, like it is the funniest thing I had ever said, because it was.
Kerri saw through me that night, as only best friends can. She saw that my pain was the key to my success.
I began laughing too. “Hope is dead to me” we screamed as we rolled across the bed together at 2am. “Hope is dead to me” we peeled as we pounded the pillows with our fists and fell onto the carpet. “Hope is dead to me!” rang out through the neighborhood. The more I repeated the phrase the more it hit me- I am only 23 years old. I have like 40 more years of heart breaking, art making labour before I can legitimately give up. The more she laughed the more I saw how ridiculous I was and the clearer it became that this was only the beginning…in fact, this was exactly the very beginning.
This is the night Patti Fedy was born.
Patti is my clown. My alternate ego. My soul. She is the character that launched my career, made me a wack of coin and gave me cred in the theatre community. Patti doesn’t think very highly of herself and yet she is so pure in her self-deprecation that everything she says has ends up having this tinge of subtle genius. Being the very worst is her very best thing. Her desperate darkness sheds so much light.
The night Hope died was the most important night of my life. Thank God.
She was such a little bitch anyway.