My Life on the Stage

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Everyone was still. We all lay frozen in the most awkward and uncomfortable positions. From the audience, it probably looked like someone had emptied a toy chest of rag dolls onto the stage. My face was pressed up against the cool, black platform and my right arm hung off of the downstage side of the platform. I could still feel the vibration of the chains on my limp fingertips. I lay there, staring into the infinite black curtain, listening to the sound of silence vibrating from wall to wall. No one moved--no babies cried, no one jingled their keys, no one coughed, no one crinkled their programs, and some even forgot to breathe. I lifted my head as subtly as possible and there was Steve. His head hung weakly cocked to the side. Lines of anguish were visible on his sweat-soaked temples and around his cheekbones. The glow of soft pink and orange stage lights combined with the glare cast by the chains still swinging in the memory of our rattling them cast an eerie shimmer across his face. The aura reminded me of the softened glow produced by shining a flashlight through a water-filled fish tank. Suddenly burned by this image, I began to cry. So I returned my face to the cool comfort of the platform and sang our goodbyes as I watched my tears collect in the grooves of the wood like tiny rivers of sorrow.

She’s the kind of mother who cracks dirty jokes at the dinner table, uses the words “mannerism” and “euphemism” interchangeably, and reggaes with my friends on the dance floor. But at the end of the day, she puts on her red and green flannel pajamas and relaxes in the hands of a sixty-year-old lawyer named Matlock or shuffles through the pile of Danielle Steel and Mary Higgins Clark books looking for a good mystery to sink her teeth into.

I stopped running -dead in my tracks- entranced by the reflection in the lake. I could make out every detail; chairs on porches, tiny white cottages with brick red shutters, candles in windows, mothers standing in the doorways calling their children in from the rain, and a weeping willow which appeared sadder than usual as it drooped under the weight of the rain on its leaves.
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