Just came from my second troupe rehearsal, and the first where I was actually called upon to do anything more complicated than manage the stereo... the troupe manager knows what's going on right now, and keeps telling me that I should only think about the troupe if it makes me feel better. Aurora's mom died of cancer when Aurora was just sixteen, so she knows what she's talking about.
Actually, it seems quite a few people do. When I sent out the e-mail letting my friends know what was up, and that I was going to be leaving town for a while, many of the responses revealed things I hadn't known about my friends. Many of them have had parents with cancer. It's been enlightening. And they are all incredibly supportive--and understand that sometimes you really just don't want to talk about it. That you'll talk about anything else but that. They tell their own stories of going home, how it's an amazing and wretched and powerful experience. And most of them refer to it as a gift, which makes me feel better, because I've been using words like that for a couple of years now and wondering if that meant I'd lived in California too long.
So anyway, Aurora knows, but nobody else does, so the rehearsal was pretty jovial. Downright hilarious, actually. Here's one woman--the next newest member after me-- studiously practicing a phrase at the mirror, while behind her two of the more senior people are pretending to be snakes and biting at each other and laughing. The woman who had had me feeling a little overwhelmed at the last rehearsal had me hooting tonight; seriously, you could power a village on her energy. And then there were four experienced troupe members and they needed to practice a five-person choreography... so up I went. As unready, as unstable, as awkward as I feel. And they were all very kind and didn't laugh (openly) at how much I need to learn, and I sort of understood what was going on even if some of the moves were totally foreign to me, and afterwards they helped me write it all down, so those of us who don't know it can practice on our own.
I laughed a lot tonight, and realized that it's been a while.