Never Again-That Night soothing
I was mostly distracted though. I was staring into the chairs and the bleachers. Faces, lots of faces. No-where. I could find my parents no-where. I couldn't concentrate; What were my lines? Where were they? Was no one going to help me? I already look like a fool... And then I accepted the silence. It was mine.
The words came out, all-be-it late and full of ad-lib typos. But I did my thing as effortlessly as possible. It was like some other me took over, a me that was at home with failure. When I got off the stage, into the wings, I tried to get to a quiet dark corner. To collapse and to cry. It was never that easy for me though. He grabbed me by the wrist and pushed me against a wall and was breathing heavy into my mouth saying something about how much he wanted me.
I tried to think of the easiest, simplest way to get past this and get to my quiet corner. Reasoning with him that I needed to study my lines wasn't enough. I could have kissed him, I could have kneed him in the groin. Neither seemed like the right thing to do, but no matter how I struggled, he wouldn't let me go. I was his first. He was mine. We wouldn't get to that point until years later.
When I got away from him, I found a set of wooden stairs in the dark back corner of the the stage. It was for another show and they were just too inconvenient to move all the time, but too necessary to get rid of. I used to sit on them all the time to concentrate on memorizing my lines. This time I thought I sat on them to cry. But no such luck, too many people passing too and fro. I had to be quiet. After all, there was a show going on.
I closed my eyes to think of the show, the people. What had happened, to figure out why I just couldn't think up there. I saw the faces in the audience, dark and featureless. Welling tears and I bit my lip. I thought of the lines I'd forgotten, perfect without thinking. A quivering hand and pain at my heart, I tucked my hands in each other in my lap. I thought about how I'd just been shoved against the wall. I started wringing my fingers and rocking a little. I remembered how I suddenly came to peace when I realized I had failed completely.
The shakes and the vulnerable feeling, my stooped posture, quivering lip, and even the pain in my heart went away. I was a failure. But I couldn't let it show. I couldn't let any of it show. I looked at my hands. Small as always. But my nails were dirty underneath. I started scraping them clean. It was the only thing I could think of to do to cope with this feeling. On nights like tonight, the grating scrape of nail on nail is soothing.