Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nervous

The night before the audition, I couldn't breathe. I thought I was going to throw up. I knelt there with my face over the toilet gripping the seat with my hands. The faint blue water shivers as I push air in and out of my mouth trying to get the precious oxygen down my throat. The sides of my vision have darkened and I can only see what is directly in front of me. My heart is beating in my ears and I can't feel my legs any longer.

...

The stage is dark. I'm early. The director isn't hear yet. The janitor let me in. I walk across the stage on my toes. I jump a couple of times just to hear the sound. It thumps. The echo dies out almost instantly. I reach down and feel the stage with my hands. If it were a blanket, I would grab it and draw it snug around me. I would roll in it until it was my entire world. I would...

I feel a tingle on the back of my neck. I'm being watched. I push myself off the floor and peer into the darkness. In the doorway, there is a silhouette. Whoever it is can see me, but with the lights off, I have no guess as to who it might be. It enters the room and walks towards the stage.

"What are you doing?"

"Nothing... I... I..."

The lights jump on. The man was standing by the big breaker just off stage. He is wearing blue jeans, a dress shirt, and a leather jacket.

"What are you doing?"

I rise to my feet with my head down. Sorry. As I walk past him, I hear him mumble something, but I can't make out what it is.

...

I'm backstage, about to go on. The spotlight shines down and makes a circle on the stage. My throat is caught again and I finger my chest looking for my diaphragm. I push it a couple times as if giving myself CPR. My name is called. I step into the light.

...

I'm at home again, kneeling in front of the toilet. My hands are on the seat and my breath stirs the water. The phone is on the floor next to me. I'm waiting for a phone call. My breaths are shallow, but I can feel the soft tickle of the bath mat on my legs.

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