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Stage Fright

The stage lights are up and blinding me, I think the theater is empty. I am full of stage fright for my upcoming performance so I have come early to rehearse. I pace the stage, I see my stage-light shadow ripple over the floorboards. A fly buzzes onto the stage. I can see his multiple eyes glittering in the stage light as he zig-zags his way around me. His eyes are full of green emeralds. He’s lethargic like an early spring or late winter fly. I could swat him easily but I let him be.

My mouth tastes sour. The stage lights are so hot I am sweating. Then a cold breeze blows in from the stage wings and I am refreshed. I can hear the clack of my high heels bounce back from the walls as I walk across the stage. I talk into the microphone, startled by the loudness of my own voice. I talk about my childhood and roses. The theater fills with the smell of roses. My legs are rubbery and feel like they will fold underneath me, give out like rotten timber under a wrecking ball. Then I sing.

I don’t notice until I’ve been singing for a while that the theater is full. I walk out into the aisles people are enjoying my performance. They laugh at the funny parts, applaud when I sing. I see and Japanese woman. I say, “mada mada desu,” essentially, “yeah, I’m not that good.” The woman looks shocked. It is unclear to me if she is shocked that I’ve spoken Japanese or at the content of my speech.

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