Can’t really focus on the stage in front of me. Heads bob to the music in unison and I crane my neck around their movements. Nothing ever seems to stay still enough for me to get a hang on things. They flow through my shaky fingers and glide in the wind away from me. Fed up, I get and shuffle myself out the aisle of bodies.
“Sorry, excuse me, sorry, just trying to get through.” Sweat, popcorn and soda. I get to the walkway and lean against the wall, letting out a sigh of relief. Free from the cage. I can finally breathe now, but then people turn their heads towards me, whispering to their seat partners.
Oh no, oh no, oh no… Just focus on the performance, oh wow pretty colors- oh gosh is that guy coming over he- no he’s going to the bathroom whew. Focus on the performance, wow that was beautiful. How long did they practice for to perfect this? They look amazing. I doubt they think that though, people always think their own work sucks, but this is truly amazing-
“Hey are you okay?”
Oh crap! Just act normal, smile and nod your head. Great, I’m shaking.
“Do you need a seat?”
No, I need you to leave me alone!
The usher puts on his concerned face in dim lighting and I give him a shake of my head.
“I’m fine here.”
Leave. Leave. Leave.
“Okay, if that’s what you want.”
I want to be the only person here watching this performance. I want to be left alone. Is any of this
going to happen? No.
Finally, the performance finishes and I don’t even remember most of it. Great. I head backstage with my sister’s flowers, hugging myself so no one touches me.
Ew. Ew. Ew. Just go through the cracks in the crowd, don’t make eye contact, good, you’re almost there…
“Mari!” I exclaim. She turns around in her ballet outfit, face plastered with every color in the world.
Her eyes are as wide as her pink-lipped smile. She has such nice teeth. Her arms fling up and she runs towards me.
Oh gosh, she’s making a scene. Wait, should I run, should I yell, what do I do, stand here? I take a couple steps forward giving her a genuine smile (Those don’t come often).
I wrap my arms around her and she squeezes me tight.
How long are hugs supposed to last? Oh, she’s letting go, pay attention.
“You were a star up there,” I say.
“Thanks Kay, I’m glad you’re here. It made me feel a little better on stage.”
Really? Dang I must be a great sister.
Afterwards I drive home to our empty, quiet, apartment.
“Home sweet home,” I yell to the air.
Oh gosh, I hope no one heard- whatever this is my sanctuary.
I lock the door and head to the kitchen still thinking about the bits and pieces of the performance I can remember. I grab a couple snacks from my pantry and get comfy on the couch. My phone pings, and I glance at the lit screen: I won’t get home til real late, so don’t stay up – Mari
Eh, probably will anyways. My mouth stretches into a yawn and I decide to head upstairs. I put away the left-over snacks and grab a frozen bottle of water. I cross the living room to the stairs, going two at a time. Once I reach the top a thought escapes me.
Did I lock the door?
I check my memory and don’t see me locking the door.
No, I probably did. I’m just being paranoid.
My feet don’t move though.
Ugh, I’ll check just in case.
I walk back down the stairs to the door. Yup, it’s locked. I run back upstairs, entering my room, and jumping on the bed. I stare at the bare white walls and sigh again. So peaceful and quiet. At least on the outside. My mind is never peaceful and quiet.