My Very Own Judas Kiss

My very own Judas Kiss

His arm lay outstretched, his finger pointed directly at me and with as much vitriol as he could muster he declared, ‘Judas’. The word spat out, slapped my face forcing me to turn the other cheek; that I should spur such passion from a man.

Picture a semi circle, he sat at one end, I the other, with fifteen people between us; an assorted motley crew of young actors. All of us were recent graduates from the Dublin Gaiety School of Acting desperate to find work and he, our teacher, now director was engaged to produce a show.

This man had been my teacher. For a year, I hung on his every word besotted by his very presence. He was quite the charismatic. I can recall the first moment I saw him. With a contrived majesty he entered the classroom, silently descending the staircase and ordered us queer lot of black tights and leotard clad drama students to form a circle. We diligently obeyed. Slowly, he paced the outside. Facing inward we could feel his presence and what a heart racing presence it was.

He stopped behind me, four feet away from me and commanded I fall backwards into his arms. He would catch me, an exercise in trust and letting go.  I let go and well caught, (by my shoulders), he was the first man I completely trusted.

I was not the only one. We all adored him and he did so like to be adored. He would fix his steely blue-eyed gaze upon you, as if looking deep inside your psyche. We were young, all of us looking for saviours, putty in his hands, totally surrendering to his unconventional methods and ever so slightly unorthodox exercises.  Collectively, we hung on his  out breath.

Toward the end of the final  term, I found myself alone in the college office with him. I sat by the computer and he, behind me, laid his hands on my shoulders, bent close to me and whispered in my ear,

‘Do you think we will ever fuck?’

I said nothing.

‘I think we will,’ he let the notion hang in the air.

His wife had just given birth to their third child.

So there  we  were,  a group of wide eyed  would be  thespians,  eagerly  setting up a  theatre company and  he our sovereign director. Sat  in  a semi circle,  I cannot remember exactly what I said to provoke his denunciation  but  that  he did, branding me  a  Judas. His arm suspended and his finger pointed, he directed me out the door. Cast as the scapegoat I quit the oh-so silent circle. Not  one  person  rose to my  defense, not one  word  uttered. He liked to keep a tight  hold on the group. Only in retrospect did it occur that this five foot two, little man thought himself Christ- like.

I never did kiss him perhaps that was my ultimate betrayal.

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