Sindi Starr stood on stage looking out at the crowd, squinting slightly while the spotlights beamed down on her. “Is everyone doing OK” she bellowed through her microphone. The crowd responded with a resounding “Yeah” all except for one person sitting alone in the corner of the auditorium. His delayed response “I’m not okay” echoed in the silence after and was captured on the roving camera that panned across the crowd. He caught Sindi’s eye and she stopped, raised her hand and pointed to him. Two men in army like uniforms walked off the stage and went towards him. As they approached him, he stood up, apprehensively and froze in place.
They took him by the arms and led him out of the auditorium, through the side entrance and up the stairs to the backstage area. Sindi shouted to her audience “Alright everyone, I’m going to take a break, so go get your drinks and snacks and I’ll meet you all back here in 20 minutes for the second half of the show”
Backstage Sindi walked towards the man with a look of curiosity on her face. Unlike most pop stars, she wasn’t a Diva. She was a rare breed, hardworking, caring and honest. Her extensive vocal range had won her many awards and accolades over the past 5 years since she started singing professionally but her heart was pure and she had a genuine love for her audience because she knew that without them, she would be nothing.
“Hi” she said, holding out her hand to him, he took it with a firm grip. “Hi” he said back. “I’m Sindi” she said. He gave out a little giggle and said “No shit”. Then he felt bad for using profanity, hung his head and pretended to glance at his shoes. She raised one eyebrow and gave him a pursed look. He looked up, leaned closer to her and said “My bad, sorry, I’m Dave” She gave one of her body guards a reassuring look and he stepped back to give them space. “Well Dave, what seems to be troubling you? Are you not enjoying the show?”
“No, no” he said in an apologetic tone “The show is great, it’s just that…..I’m all alone. You see I was meant to be sharing this with my wife, she’s the real fan you know. I bought tickets for our one year wedding anniversary which was a week ago. We went on a cruise ship called the Diamond Princess, we were there for five days and landed back home yesterday, and since it’s Valentine’s Day I thought this was the perfect ending to a week of love and celebration.” She nodded her head, “I see” she said. “So where is she tonight?” she asked. “Well, that’s just it. On the last day of the cruise she started feeling ill. We think she must have gotten food poisoning or something. When we arrived home yesterday she started with a fever and took to her bed for the rest of the day”
“Oh the poor thing” said Sindi “is she feeling any better today?” He turned away trying hard not to look like he was fighting back tears. “No, last night she ended up in hospital and is on a respirator as she couldn’t breathe. The doctors seem to think it’s a new kind of virus and I’m not allowed in to see her but she told me in no uncertain terms that I am not to let the tickets go to waste and that I had to come, for her. So here I am”
“Well” said Sindi “Let’s not let her down shall we” She reached down towards the table next to her and gave him a signed photo of herself. “Here take this and give it to her with my love.” He took the photo from her hand and broke down in tears. “Thank you, he said” wiping the tears as they rolled down his cheeks. “There, there” she said, as she reached towards him she grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him close towards her for a hug. He wrapped his arms around her back and they stood there for moment, hugging. Then she stepped back and said “Come get out your cellphone and let’s take a photo together for your wife” He reached inside his jacket pocket, composed himself and then smiled while taking a photo of the two of them, cheek to cheek. “Thank you for this” he said “My wife will be so thrilled”
“No problem, Dave” Sindi said, giving him a broad smile. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a show to finish” and just before she turned to walk away, she leaned forward and gave him one last squeeze.
Dave walked away feeling elated. He couldn’t believe what had just happened and he had the proof! When Claire was better and out of hospital he would try and recreate the concert by playing one of Sindi’s albums in the background while they enjoyed a candlelit dinner for two. He didn’t bother going back into the auditorium for the second act, instead he went home with thoughts of hope swirling around in his head.
Sindi went back to her manager and said “George, I have had a rethink and I want to change things up a little.” George, looking visibly stressed, glanced back at her “What did you have in mind?” “I was thinking, this is Valentine’s Day and it is 2020 after all, let’s spread the love a little more.” George nodded and said “Go on..” his voice trailed off as if he was deep in thought. “Well you’re not going to like it but I’m gonna do it anyway okay and no arguing about it” George nodded once more and shrugged his shoulders as if to signal his surrender.
“What is the one thing all humans crave? What does everyone want from me?” George looked puzzled and shrugged his shoulders. “Love and human contact” she said. “So for the second half of my show, I’m going to come down from my ivory tower and walk amongst the crowd while singing” George looked concerned “But Sindi, that’s not a wise move, there are so many, many things that could go wrong”
“I know George and that’s why you have the gestapo over there to protect me. She tilted her head towards her bodyguards and continued “Look I’m going to spread the love and I’m not backing down on this. I will try and touch each and every person here tonight, personally and physically. I will shake hands, hug and be there to give them a little piece of me and then we will end the show with a slow calm song so the crowd doesn’t get riled up. We could even do a crowd surf and they can all carry me around the stadium”
George was apprehensive but knew better than to argue with Sindi once her mind was made up. “Alright then” he said. “Almost time to go on, best you get cracking with your costume change”
“No” Said Sindi and she removed her headgear and gloves. “I want to do this the old fashioned way, skin to skin contact” and she walked out onto the stage to the sound of fifty thousand cheering voices.