“An Origin Story” – By Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye
Sarah Kay: It started with a sweater.
Phil Kaye: I was looking fly. First day of college orientation as a freshman… plus, I’m the type of guy who’s always trying to make a good impression.
Sarah: He looked like a tool. And it’s the first week of school, so I’ve got people to meet and things to try. I don’t have time to waste on this guy loitering backstage at a talent show.
Phil: It started with a freshman talent show, a chance to showcase what I know about spoken word and poetry and try and get some people to notice me.
Sarah: It started with a technical difficulty –
Phil: some sort of delay –
Sarah: somebody’s iPod track wouldn’t play.
Phil: So I’m stuck waiting backstage when I notice this girl –
Sarah: and he walks over, stupid sweater and all. There was nowhere to run, backstage was too small.
Phil: And I’m so nervous about going onstage, I decide to strike up a conversation.
Sarah: Oh, sorry, I completely got ahead of myself. I totally skipped introductions. My name is Sarah Kay.
Phil: My name is Phil Kaye. I’m from California –
Sarah: born and raised in NYC.
Phil: Let’s see, fun fact about me –
Both: My mom is Japanese and my dad is Jewish.
Sarah: Not a common combination, but I think it’s kinda cute. People call me Japajew –
Phil: Jewpanese –
Sarah: Ashkenazi kamikaze.
Phil: And come December –
Both: Hanukkah and Christmas!
Sarah: Plus, you should taste my mother’s brisket. Jan has matzah ball soup with noodles…brings my father Jeffrey to his knees.
Phil: It took mom and dad to raise this lanky, cock-eyed, half-breed.
Sarah: Well, I think that’s it. My mom, my dad, and me – oh, plus my little brother. He’s eighteen.
Phil: My little sister is a deadpan firecracker. She’s only eighteen, but she keeps me on track. Part of her name is Sarah.
Sarah: My little brother’s name is Phillip.
Sarah: Where was I?
Phil: It started with a backstage interaction.
Sarah: No, it started with a backward first impression.
Phil: Okay, well, I’ll tell you where it didn’t start. It didn’t start at fifth grade summer camp.
Sarah: That’s true, it did not start at junior lifeguards. Even though we were both there.
Phil: Matching red bathing suits, white t-shirts, visors, and our counsellor –
Both: Mr. Johnson.
Sarah: Who probably figured that the shy girl in his morning class –
Phil: and the skinny kid in his afternoon class –
Both: were… cousins?!
Sarah: Probably thought we carpooled over together –
Phil: in between family photoshoots and fourth of July barbecues.
Sarah: But instead, we merely co-existed –
Phil: almost met but always missed it –
Sarah: spinning around like two sides of a coin.
Both: We’ve done the research!
Sarah: And we swear, we’re not related.
Phil: And we’ve never dated.
Both: And we’re never… EVER… going to.
Phil: Because what are the chances of finding someone with your last name –
Sarah: Japanese and Jewish with siblings called the same?
Phil: What are the odds of finding someone –
Sarah: who can finish your sentences –
Phil: who will let you cut in line –
Sarah: who knows not to just lend a hand, or an ear when you need them to give you their spine –
Phil: who is woman enough to be best man at your wedding –
Sarah: who will keep every secret, save every letter, tell you how you really look –
Phil: who will remember every single one of your birthdays –
Sarah: without checking Facebook?
Phil: What are the odds of finding someone who knows your poetry by heart –
Sarah: who won’t freak out if you’re hanging out and accidentally fart?
Phil: Yeah. If you have a date and you need to look fresh, I will let you borrow… my hair products.
Sarah: And if you don’t have a date and you need to look fresh, I will let you borrow… my cousin.
Phil: I will always see you for the alley-oop.
Sarah: I will always save you a seat.
Phil: I will always pick you to be my partner even though you are terrible at handball.
Sarah: When the fire takes all you have, my home will be your home.
Phil: When you are old and can no longer remember my face, I will meet you for the first time again and again.
Sarah: When they make fun of your accent, I will take you swimming because we all sound the same underwater.
Phil: When Ellis Island tries to erase your past, I will call you by your real name.
Sarah: When they call your number for the draft, I will enlist to fight beside you.
Phil: And I will march with you from Selma to Montgomery and back as many times as it takes.
Sarah: We will stand together against the hoses and the dogs –
Both: because it didn’t start with us.
Phil: It started with Lennon and McCartney.
Sarah: It started with Thelma and Louise.
Phil: It started with Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin.
Sarah: Bert and Ernie!
Phil: Abbott and Costello!
Sarah: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!
Phil: Mario and Luigi!
Sarah: Watson and Sherlock!
Phil: Pikachu and Charizard! And they could tell you what a miracle this is.
Sarah: They could tell you how rare this is.
Phil: But they could tell you how rare friendship always is.
Sarah: The chances are slim.
Phil: The cards are always stacked against you, the odds are always low.
Both: But I have seen the best of you, and the worst of you, and I choose both.
Phil: I want to share every single one of your sunshines and save some for later.
Sarah: I will tuck them into my pockets so I can give them back to you when the rains fall hard.
Both: Friend –
Phil: I want to be the mirror that reminds you to love yourself.
Sarah: I want to be air in your lungs that reminds you to breathe easy.
Phil: When the walls come down –
Sarah: when the thunder rumbles –
Both: when nobody else is home, hold my hand –
Phil: and I promise –
Both: I won’t let go.