Tonight, my friend and I went to see The Glass Menagerie. This week is its final week on Broadway, so the show was packed. I just finished reading the play using my New York Public Library membership last week, so I was already prepared for the story line.
The moment that struck me most during the play that I didn’t even think much about when I read it was at the very end when Tom is narrating. The “gentleman caller” has already left. Tom has had a fight with his mother, who accused him of misleading her and Laura with inviting his coworker over, believing that he was available (for Laura) when he was in fact engaged to another girl. Tom has stormed out of the house to “go to the movies” as he does every evening. Except this time, he says he has left for good, almost in the same way his father left them 16 years before. “I left you behind,” he says, referring to Laura, “but I am more loyal to you than I intended.” I could feel my eyes fill with tears. He left his little sister behind to be vulnerable in the world with his delusional mother. And now he feels guilt, yet he insists that he is still loyal to her even though he is no longer with her.
It’s like how Ed left me behind in some ways. I’m not as vulnerable as Laura is, but like her, I no longer have my brother around as someone to turn to or speak to or protect me. Her brother is still living somewhere. My brother is no longer living, but I hope that wherever he is that he is also still loyal to me, too.