Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
- Macbeth, Act V, Scene V
Oh, Elaine. Even a week later, the memory of you remains.
Like the Lady Macbeth, who timelessly advised that we should "look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it," you slithered onto Capitol Hill, resplendent in black, and called forth your spirit. Spears drawn, the enemy prepared its arsenal - calling you "bonkers" and "dumb" - and through it all, you deployed that last weapon that was the final defense of another warrior woman who heard the voices, too. Like Joan of Arc, you sat waiting patiently for their approach, and refused to do anything but smile.
Now, in the wake of your great battle, they have called out your defeat. Others have written about you and now made you famous. But it was I, Lady Elaine, who first saw that twinkle in your eye oh so many years ago. I wrote furiously - blog after blog, odes to your hair - but you steadfastly refused to answer me, other than to tell my editor, when my first letter reached your glare, that you may sue us all if we didn't avert our stare.
Now, the media is in love with you, too. They have taken you and made you famous, and I fear that you will shrink, like a violet, fold your dark petals, and go far, far away.
But there are so many places I yearn to yet take you. There are so many things yet to see, to bring you around to the light, and redeem your defeated soul.
I want to take you, Elaine, to meet our Madonna, and show you that my gay brothers and sisters can do more than your hair. And oh, to take away your notion that we cannot fight in a noble and ferocious way, I want to take you to a clearance sale at Versace, and let you stand back and watch me as someone else tries to get the last size small.
I have so much still to teach you, so many visions yet to show you. Do not take your dark cloak and go home.
Like a stalking lover, I do not wish to think that you may not like me. Instead, I slumber in vivid fantasies that you told your tawdry tale on the Hill to make my people look noble and eloquent, indeed. In a Shakespearian twist of the plot, I imagine that you descended on that hot, swampy Washington day in a midsummer night's fever, determined to show how rational and articulate your "homosexual" friends really are.
You sure did strut and fret, and make the most of your hour on the Congressional stage.
Was it victory that, in your final throes, you wished to bequeath us? Were you the walking shadow who forswore your own dignity to give more breath to our own?
It was, I remind myself time and again, the boy with the small mind in Faulkner's Shakespeare-inspired The Sound and the Fury, who spoke the most truth of everyone around him.
Oh, but I must let you go. If admitting I have a problem is the first step toward recovery, my path to healing must begin today.
"I seed de beginnin," Faulkner's small-minded hero said, "en now I sees de endin."
Even though you beckon me to, I must not sit here, long after you've returned home to Michigan, and look at your photo and hear the ghosts of Faulkner's other lady scorned.
"Whoever God is, He would not permit that," she said. "I'm a lady. You might not believe that . . . but I am."
But then again, my first twelve-step rule reminds me, Lady Macbeth was also lady who looked severe in blue. Maybe, like her, you were just a mirage, bathed in shadows, of quickly fading sound and fury, too.
Photo by Rudy K Photography