The gift

Submitted into Contest #123 in response to: Start your story looking down from a stage.... view prompt



The audience grew silent as she paused before reciting her next scripted lines. She looked down at the orchestra before her. She was at the very edge of the stage and had chosen to remove her heels before advancing front and center. An improvised move to get closer to the people and thinking this would Add more fluidity to the scene. Although her balance was better in the shoes, she felt it would appear to be more authentic in the upcoming sequence, enhancing the vulnerability of the character she was portraying. Her big toes perched over the platform unsteady and teetering. The white sequins of her dress were blinding as she traced back up the gown with her eyes to look out over the assembly that waited in great anticipation for her climax to the segment.

It was so dark she couldn’t see one face in the first row. The conductor’s circle was lit up and she watched him standing by, arms in the air, fingers draped over the baton. His eyes on her, seeking a beginning for a new bar to the tempo so he could direct the ensemble before him. She witnessed a rat scramble from the lights under the instruments and run across his feet, but the maestro remained stoic and focused.

Everyone watched her soften as she posed to speak with her dark lashes curled down. Her beauty was secondary to the strength of her character and the integrity she put into the service of others, and this made her a magnet of love to the masses. She began, “My life, wretched as it is now not long ago filled with such wonder and greatness. I stand before you, heartsick for the losses I am enduring.” Placing a palm against her temple in dramatic angst.  “I can no longer go on!” And then she felt the billowing begin from the deepest recesses of her being as a force so profound and powerful traveled up and through her torso filling her. Taking that breath and scooping in her belly then expanding heavenly ferocious lungs. Like a train blown free of its destination she began to feel herself shrink before her fans. The air hit the back of her teeth as the gift of divine voice tumbled from her throat, and she sang like the possessed woman she became. She felt out of body and not in total control when this transcendent timeless vocal tone took over.  Imparting splendor and beauty with each note. It was soft yet rich and euphonious with just a hint of raspy lust. The house shook with vibrato and skin prickling sensation as the cadence resonated intensely with each guest. This was her aspiration. They all knew her, but she didn’t know their stories. Each was important and she wished to touch them in a way they could feel known with her words and melody. Individuals as a part and surge of connection in this beautifully embellished auditorium with its spectacular waterfall chandeliers shimmering alongside decadent costumes in play.

In interviews she was asked who she was singing to when she performed. And in her reply, she would say “Mostly I am listening. It is the only time I can truly listen because when I am not on stage, I feel only the constant bombardment of life. I never felt like I had chosen this gift. It had chosen me. An honor of course, I believe for the purpose to carry a melody with lyrics people can’t or won’t speak to each other. I hope to summon a spiritual sound inspirational for basic human survival. All these utterly beautiful and astonishing humans!”  She wanted to be a peacemaker of the heart and though many strangers claimed to love her she was in effect the owner of a lonely heart.

In conclusion of song, the exhaustion set in. The offering flowed for long stretching moments using her body to give pleasure while it felt like her soul didn’t inhabit the space at all. Terror had become a familiar stranger at the end of performances recently, but she was able to move pass the initial impact. The house lights lit up and she could see the faces of the audience now. A man in the front row stood as he picked a loose hair from his lapel leading the standing ovation in what seemed to her odd and as if in slow motion. Red roses float through the air grazing her bare feet feeling like a cloak of scarlet velvet.  She clutched her bosom in heartfelt gratitude and felt tears begin to form at the inner corners of her eyes. The conductor smiles, winks and his orchestra meet him in standing with applause. She could hear many bravos and was humble before them. Taking a bow in appreciation she feels her head spin. There is a reverberating rush in her eardrums. Black and white specks roll like twinkling stars before her. She could feel her limbs crippel in on her giving way and heard gasps echo around the room before the lights went out in her brain and painted it black. She never felt the ground when her spine cracked, and her skull split open.

The headline in the guardian read “Opening night fall” it went on to reap magnificent accolades about the show. Marvelous, eloquent, moving and speechless performance by Mindy Graham up and until the horrifying fall off the stage and into the pit. With life threatening injuries, she remains unconscious and in critical condition. “Bla, bla, bla,” she thinks to herself.  Hovering above the room she sees her immobile body like a dot in what would seem such an enormous space for one person as she moves from the paper to the many vases of flowers that fill the counters and tables. Even the chairs. Watching the doctors and nurses in chaos try to care for her, a couple of frantic looking visitors unrecognizable to her at the door. Noise of machines and glare of overhead bulbs. That sour, pungent hospital smell!  She knows she will not wake but fears she is stuck for a while longer. A shallow gust at the open window ripples the blind. There are too many tears coming from the people in the streets below. Unable to feed their spirits she dreams of white marshmallow clouds where she can rest and float gently. Her wish is to be released back to the place that granted her that enormous gift and burden. She feels she gave back and is ready for the final curtain to fall. There is a bright light of a sunrise ahead. Its golden brilliance refreshes her vision giving her impetus to continue in another realm.

December 09, 2021 16:27

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

Yes, you! Write. Format. Export for ebook and print. 100% free, always.