Sudden Changes

Ogden watched this little vignette with extreme interest. the girls didn't look any younger of course, but they were displaying the same energy and easy rapport of an eleven and twelve year old.

Today was just a much more obvious and sudden personality change for Barbara.  Six months ago she wouldn't have cared if she had ripped Lillian's entire  head off. Today the sight of one small clump of hair that she had pulled out had brought her to tears.

Barbara's apparent about face today had come as a shock to Ogden.  He didn't realize  that  her personality had been gradually changing over a three month period since she started coming to the theatre. it was probably an accumulation of smaller events that made Barbara less irritable, less haughty, and just a little more likable.

He had been experiencing some personality differences himself, but to a lesser degree.

Outside the theatre he was a famous movie star.He expected to be admired and obeyed. He was civil and polite, but not particularly friendly or affectionate. He was aloof even with his oldest acquaintances.

Inside the theatre,  the quiet dignified atmosphere here had mellowed him somehow. He hadn't raised his voice once since construction began, even when mistakes were made. This was unusual for him. He had a short fuse when it came to anything that even resembled incompetence.

Another difference in Ogden was his deep interest in the reconstruction project itself. He had always been more interested in the results of any endeavour, rather than the process.

One case in point was when he bought a mansion in a swanky neighbourhood outside the city. He had hired a project manager to decorate and furnish it. He hadn't even stepped inside it after the initial viewing when he bought it.

This had been five years earlier and he had been working on a movie. Barbara had been just fourteen, and was attending boarding school. Back then he could have cared less how the job was done or who did it as long as he approved of the outcome of their labours.

The theatre reconstruction was a different atmosphere entirely. By the second day he had met and learnt the trade speciality of each man. He now knew all their names and what section of the restoration they were involved in. He had even brought a sandwich to the work site and had lunch with the foreman a couple of times. He knew exactly what he wanted done to restore the theatre.

Ogden sat on the grass and leaned his back against the brick wall of the annex. He watched the girls go through the box and compare notes on how they had spent their twelfth year of life.

He smiled at how well the two girls seemed to be getting along now. He missed his wife Margaret terribly just then. Their lives would have been so different if she had lived. He'd been dreaming about her a lot since he bought the theatre.

In fact, the first time that he had dreamt about her in years was the day that he saw the For Sale ad for the theatre. In his dream, Barbara was five years old, his career at the theatre was taking off, and Margaret was as happy as he was.

He was going through the morning paper when he saw the ad on the front page. That was highly unusual. Advertisements had their own section buried somewhere inside the paper. A real estate ad had no business being on the front page.

The moment he saw the picture in the ad, he knew it was the same theatre that had played such an enormous part in his life before he became famous. He called the number immediately.

There was something very strange about that phone call too. Gordon had gotten that call although the electricity and phone lines to the annex had been out of service for three days.

There had been a lightening strike to the power pole outside the annex the very day Gordon had submitted the ad. Gordon didn't own a cell phone then because he couldn't afford it, so the land line was his only access to the outside world.

He hadn't gotten any calls about the ad, because no one could get through. Ogden had been out of town the first two days, and the ad had been buried way back in the ad section. The day Ogden came home, the ad was right on the front page, due to the inexperience of a new person in the advertising department.

Gordon hadn't spoken to Ogden for fourteen years when he made that initial call. He didn't know if Gordon would even accept his offer considering the way they had left without really discussing it, or even saying goodbye.

There was a very good reason for his abrupt departure back then, but he couldn't  tell Gordon about it at the time. He could probably tell Gordon everything now, since the statute of limitations on the whole sordid business had ended  years ago.

The End

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