The Understudy

 The understudy. Second string.  The person the audience groans over when they realize they paid good money to see a no-name. I know that feeling all too well. Years ago I went to see Beauty and the Beast on Broadway because it was supposed to be starring that chick from the Sopranos who played Meadow. After taking our seats, an announcer, in his baritone voice, regrettably informed us all that Meadow Soprano was sick and No Name So and So was going to play the role of Belle. *groan*. The actress was phenomenal and I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job; unfortunately for her, she wasn’t Meadow. She was No Name So and So. Well allow me to introduce myself: Hello, my name is No Name So and So. No, I never starred in a Broadway musical. Instead,  I am the understudy to the South African. The 1st runner up, if you will.

Picture it: Washington D.C 2001. A young soldier meets an even younger amazon from South Africa. They have an “excellent weekend” and fall in love. Awww.  Wedded bliss didn’t last though. They got a divorce.  He claims she used him for a green card. My intel sources suggest otherwise. Nonetheless, it just seems he never got over her.

There are so many ridiculous reasons to support my theory; however, it’s pointless to post them here (but if, dear reader, you have a burning desire for a comprehensive list, I will be happy to provide such evidence). The real point is that I feel certain I am just a “place holder”. The boobie prize. The honorable mention ribbon you get at a 4-H event. You see, when I wanted him, he wasn’t interested. It was South Africa he wanted (despite her horse face and bad drug habit…but who’s keeping track? lol). I was just a chick in his “cache”. I was someone he could hit up when he wanted some ego stroking. The B movie actress with whom he could practice his lines. When South Africa left, he surely went through his cache looking for a suitable “bed bouncer” (as he likes to call ’em) and I know my number came up at least once, though I declined.

He dated a few people and none of it worked out for various unknown reasons (but one can suppose that it may have been due to many of the same reasons I’ve struggled to stay in this relationship i.e. lying, South Africa obsession, quasi-infidelity). When South Africa married France, I believe this set him on a crash course. His spending went out of control as well as his drinking. Then he eventually decided that it was time to find a place holder and guess who had the golden ticket? Yah – me :/

Anyway, I could rant for ages about this but the real point is that I’m sad. I’m depressed. I’m heartbroken, actually. It sucks to know in your bones you’re a substitute.  It’s maddening to know that you’re sitting in the shadow of someone else. I don’t know all the details to their love story. I only know ours…and it’s a story riddled with drama, grief, tears, and actions that I don’t deserve. I think in some ways, I got married to try to prove to myself that I wasn’t the understudy. I wanted to prove that I was more than that. I wanted to prove that maybe once…just ONCE in my life someone actually wanted ME for ME and not what I could do for them or what I represented to them. But this deployment….well, I dunno….the months of small talk, discussions about Lt. Kim’s dietary habits and comedic talents wrapped in the glaring absence of romance, longing, lusting, pining, yearning have left me with little doubt of the role I am to play.

I never wanted to play second fiddle. But it doesn’t matter because I am No Name So and So and it doesn’t matter that I am giving the performance of a lifetime; all the audience will remember is that I am not South Africa. I’m just her understudy.


~ by rhondarhondarhonda on November 18, 2011.

One Response to “The Understudy”

  1. my my…i love your post. your story is quite compelling and eloquent. you have every right to be suspicious and angry. remember you are special, you are strong, and you are an individual who deserves more than what she gets. Understudy? No. Unappreciated lady with bounless potential? Yes. strive for the stars, font settle for less, and always remember…life is made for love, laughs, and joy. Dont waste it.

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