These three cousins in this picture are primed for a night on the town at the Queen's Theater. They are seeing Les Mis in the West End and it will be one of the most memorable nights in their lives. Sammie, Adrie and cousin Kailey are "living the dream." They are so excited that they can barely stop smiling. Their excitement is tangible in this photo. They curled each other's hair and put on high heels even though it was quite a bit of walking to get there. They did makeup and much changing of clothes.
Darren and I were thrilled to share this memory with them. We kept talking about how grown up they looked. We wished that Alan and Kim, Kailey's parents, could be with us to watch them.
When we discovered we'd be able to see the play on Thursday morning, an energy shot through all three of them. Adrie had been wanting to see this play more than any other. While many of her fellow students were going to play after play, she was waiting, hoping for this one.
The girls didn't care that our tickets were in restricted seating, that they'd have to crane their necks in odd positions to see. They promptly went into the theatre and bought a Les Mis T-shirt. When Fantine began singing "I Dreamed a Dream" I hardly dared to turn to look at them for fear I might miss one note of that gorgeous song. But out of the corner of my eye, I could see their faces lit up with the pure contentment and joy that comes when one is soaring.
They didn't want to leave the theatre at intermission, instead they preferred to review the story and characters among themselves through wide-eyed grins.
As I sat watching, I wondered how I managed to live my whole life without ever seeing such an incredible piece of theatre. When it was over and my face was completely wet, I was almost angry. I wanted more. This is unusual for me. I am normally glad when plays are over since I have such a hard time sitting still for very long. Not this one.
I want to go back. I want to pay £50 to sit in the middle and see every inch of the stage. They say that art trumps life. And days later, as the songs go through my head, I am inclined to believe it.