I’m really unlucky.
Actually, I really never believed in luck, until I had experienced the greatest luck of a lifetime.
I think I’ve dwelled on the negative a little too much of late, so I’m today I’m going to tell you about a happy memory of mine.
This is the story of the time I won the lottery…
…to be able to buy tickets to the musical Hamilton.
My brother, in what I assume to be another effort to get me to actually be slightly social, invited me on a bus trip with his girlfriend to New York City in June of 2016. He told me we could all see a broadway show and asked if there was anything I wanted to see.
“Hamilton seems pretty cool,” I told him. He laughed and told me that tickets were sold out until February of 2017 and that the only way to get tickets was to put in for a digital ticket lottery. As we sat on the bus amongst other travelers who told us winning this ticket lottery was impossible, we typed in our information for the lottery.
Entry submitted. Now, we wait.
Our bus rolled up next to a New York park, and the bus riders excited and scattered. My brother, his girlfriend, and I resolved to wander around the city until 11am when the results of the impossible lottery would be released. I didn’t hold onto much hope as my luck is virtually nonexistent.
When 11am rolled around, we were leaving the five story Forever 21 store in Time Square when the results of the ticket lottery were released for the matinee show. I opened my email and prepared for the obvious defeat of yet another disappointment.
HAMILTON June 4, 2016 2:00 pm: Lottery Results- YOU WON.
Time froze, as did my brain. I read the email again, then again, and then about five times again while still not believing my luck. I screamed a barely human noise and hug my brother, his girlfriend, and damn near hugged a stranger before we left the store.
In Forever 21, I was on cloud 9.
Before we headed over to the theater, my brother and his girlfriend walked around New York City for a bit. I guess you could say I was sort walking with them. My physical body walked with them, but my mind was floating in some sort of happy la la land. Dear God, my phone was at 50% by the time we reached the theater. I was just over the moon excited and filled to the brim with this weird, strange feeling I rarely experienced.
I think the saddest part of this story is that I had to keep asking myself, “So this is happy? I’m happy?” I’d been really depressed and was even so reluctant to even go on this bus trip in the first place. I didn’t think there was anything that could lift the depression I found myself in.
Obviously, I wasn’t regretting the trip at that point.
I knew this was only a band-aid on my foul mood, but it didn’t matter. Even if the happy moment only lasted a day, It was going to be embraced with open arms. I was floating on the sidewalks of the Big Apple as we found our way to the Richard Rogers theater where the musical resides.
When we were ushered into the theater, I handed my license over to the ticket booth, as they needed to verify that I was one of the chosen few, and was informed of where our seats would be.
“Front row, towards the middle,” the usher indicated to us in an indifferent tone.
I’m sorry, what?!
Yes, I heard correctly. I was taken to the front of the theater and sat down front row damn near center to the hottest musical the world at the time. It was like I was in some sort of a waking dream. I was shaking with excitement until I was rendered still by the opening number.
There he was, Alexander Hamilton himself and the creator of this musical phenomenon, Lin-Maunel Miranda less than four feet away from my face in all of his glory. Let me tell you this, there is nothing more inspiring for an aspiring writer than watching a writer tell you his story right in front of you.
It was like the modern day equivalent of watching Charles Dickens reading one of his stories aloud.
The musical made me laugh and made me cry like blubbering baby.
Seriously, if you don’t cry during the song “It’s Quiet Uptown” then you probably are lacking a heart.
The musical pulled me into another world. Then, just like that, the show was over.
I walked out of the theater in a daze for the rest of the day. While the rest of the bus slept as we returned to Pennsylvania, I mentally returned to that stage and, with the magic of the soundtrack that immediately found its way onto my iPod after the show, rewatched the show again and again and relived that joy.
Seeing Hamilton has become my happy place.
I go back there when I need to feel hopeful, back in time to the fourth of June. It’s hard for me to see the good in life these days. The light of hope seems to be smothered by an every growing dark night. Some days, it seems like there isn’t a point of moving forward in life when everything is going wrong.
Yet, still I go on.
In an effort to hold on in a world that makes me want to jump off, I tap into the moment when I knew pure joy, when the world allowed me a moment of luck and happiness.
So my friends, in the words of my beloved musical, raise a glass to freedom, something they can never take away, no matter what they tell you.