You signed up for my mailing list, and that means a lot to me. I hope that we’ll continue to be email friends! Here’s the epilogue to Off-Broadway. I hope you enjoy!
-Sarah Kay Moll
Epilogue: 5 Years Later
It was hard at first, to stop stealing. I had spent my entire life honing my skills, until I was a master pickpocket, an accomplished cat burglar, a clever con man. It was stealing that defined my career path. It was because I was a good thief that Angel first kissed me. I thought that as long as I stole only from people who could afford it–who maybe even deserved to lose something–it was okay. Maybe not moral, but not reprehensible either.
But then we adopted a baby. And Angel came up to me, our child in his arms, and told me he didn’t want me to steal anymore. It was too risky, he said. Now that we had a daughter together, I needed to always be there for my family. Mina agreed with him, and the two of them were impossible to argue with. More than that–they were right. So for the first time in my life, I cleaned up my act. I got out of the investment game and used half of what I’d saved up to start a small nonprofit that provides arts enrichment classes and financial aid to kids in need. Kids like the one who tried to pick my pocket seventeen years ago because he was desperate and saw no other way to succeed.
Angel teaches a theater class and Mina teaches art. Usually one or the other of them is teaching with our daughter strapped to their chest or sleeping on the desk beside them. I run the nonprofit and have little time for actual interaction with the kids, but occasionally I’ll teach some shy, lonely boy or girl to fold a little piece of paper into whimsical shapes.
I think that I stole because I felt the best way to deal with a world that had always been mostly cold and indifferent was to throw its indifference back in its face. But on nights when Angel, Mina, and I are all at home, and we sit together with Lola in her high chair to have dinner, I realize that the world has been anything but cold to me. It has given me everything my heart truly desires. There is nothing left that I need to steal.
Tonight, however, is a late night, and I’ve missed dinner. After traveling for several hours, I walk through the front door a little after midnight. I find Angel sleeping on the floor at the foot of our bed, curled up into a miserable little ball. He still does this, from time to time, when he’s plagued by nightmares and wakes unable to tell the present from episodes in the past that have been brutally burned into his mind. I kneel beside him and run my hand over his shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers, and I can’t tell if he’s awake or asleep, apologizing to me, or to the ghost of a man who I would like very much to kill, if he wasn’t behind bars.
I pull the blanket off the bed and drape it over him, because I know from experience that if I try to pick him up it will only startle him. And then, still in my slacks, dress shirt, and tie, feeling the weariness of the last twelve hours of travel, I lie down on the floor beside him and hold him close.
“I love you,” I whisper, and if love were all it took to heal someone, he would never hurt again.
Somehow, we sleep like that, tangled together through the night, and when I wake with sunlight in my eyes he’s smiling at me, brushing his fingertips over my cheek.
“I’m always going to remember this, you know,” he says, tugging very gently on my rumpled tie. “That you got down on the floor to be with me.”
“It’s not so bad,” I say, though I can feel aches in areas I didn’t know could ache.
“I’m sorry I–”
I cut him off, pressing my fingers to his lips. “Don’t ever be sorry.”
He kisses me, and I feel my heart swell, like it does with every affectionate gesture he makes. After all these years, I’m just as starstruck as I ever was.
Through the baby monitor, I hear Lola start to babble to herself, a language that makes no sense to any of us adults, but that she seems to be quite fluent in.
Angel laughs against my lips. “Did you ever think it would be like this?” he asks, pulling away. “That you’d find me again, and we’d have a kid, and a minivan, and all that shit?”
“We don’t have a minivan,” I say.
“Our nanny has a minivan,” he says.
“Well.” I meet his dark eyes, the music of his soul somehow very close to the surface. “I never thought it would turn out like this. But I always really hoped.”
He smiles like the sunrise and I steal a kiss.