No sooner did I come back to New York on Friday than I plunged into a brief but intense stint of playgoing: I saw Pig Farm on Friday night, Susan and God on Saturday afternoon, and Macbeth in Central Park on Saturday night. The last was a near-run thing, for it was raining until an hour before curtain time, and it looked like it was going to start raining again all the way through the performance.
I awoke at five-thirty on Sunday morning, packed my bags, made my way to LaGuardia Airport (about which more here), and flew from there to St. Louis, where I caught a shuttle bus to Smalltown, U.S.A. At two o’clock I was eating chicken-salad sandwiches with my mother and flipping through her high-school yearbook, published in 1946. Five hours later we sat down with my brother to watch the first installment of Broken Trail, and now I’m headed for bed.
This is the first time I’ve been home since Christmas. My mother was pleased to see that I’d lost forty pounds and acquired a rosy hue in my cheeks. (Apparently I was looking a trifle wan for several weeks prior to my visit to the hospital.) I shared the bus from St. Louis to Smalltown with a seventy-seven-year-old woman who asked me where I was from. I told her I’d grown up in southeast Missouri but was now living in New York City, to which she replied, “How nice! Do you go to school there?” I hooted loudly, thanked her kindly, and tried to imagine how weak and scared I must have looked the last time I was in Smalltown.
I’ll be spending Monday morning writing my drama column for Friday’s Wall Street Journal, after which I plan to buy a new belt, eat a very modest amount of barbecue, and take it easy. Not to worry: you’ll be hearing from me at regular intervals between now and my return to New York on Thursday. Right now, though, I’m more than ready to turn in.