Jamie had not been in the theatre for years, and now it felt like he was there for the first time. Everything seemed new and, when another plot twist came or when an actor was standing too close to the edge of the stage, a little bewildering. Jamie felt bullied, and his anxiety only started to dissolve during the intermission when he had a glass of white wine.
So it was during the second act of the performance when Jamie noticed the old woman sitting directly in front of him. It was not even the old woman herself but rather her hair. Big, sumptuous, something you could see in old American movies. The thing about the old woman’s hair was that Jamie desperately wanted to touch it.
The desire, this most illogical and ridiculous desire, came during a rather dramatic scene that should have by all means stolen Jamie’s utmost attention. Yet there he was, fantasizing about the hair. In the midst of this charmed audience staring at the stage, Jamie could hardly contain himself. His fingers felt salty, he wanted to lick them. His fingers felt hot, he had to put them in cold water.
And it all could be resolved by this utterly improbably act: touching the hair. It’s like nothing else at that particular moment in time could bring him any relief. The consequences? Oh he imagined the screams and the indignation, even if he could find the moment when the scene was especially captivating and everyone was fully there. Maybe, he thought, it would all come to police action?..
But then Jamie did it. He stretched his right arm and slipped his fingers into the old woman’s hair. A pause lasting eternity or perhaps a second. Then the old woman turned around, he closed his eyes, and the actors on the other side of the stage started to laugh and cheer and applaud. In an odd sort of way, Jamie felt he was enjoying the moment. He always was.