Dropping her fetters in the wings, she walks into the straight jacket of the theater in the mind.
She squints her eyes with childish solipsism making the eidolons mere whips in the dark space. The others had fallen into an echoing silence over the years, long ago. And just now.
Offstage in queue they sport costumes of heavy antique bullion and quilted brocade designed and built many years ago, mimicking a hundred years before that. A set of lovers coo, a pirate is selling buckets from a red corvette, another dangling a silver spoon, a child inside a feline, a drooling hunchback, a chorus in deep eggplant chiffon, each waiting a turn while the henchman fumbles with a noose.
Brushing by the understudy she hears break a leg whispered under a breath. The cliché rings in her ears until the deafening roar of the audience applauding becomes inescapable because of its absence. A queue is up. Closing eyes altogether, she gathers herself and charges out onto center stage expecting to be spell bound.
Settling into first position, centering, she glances up at the vacant right box. The big seat is empty. It is unworn and has always been empty. He is not coming. Again. There is freedom in that seat being empty.
Her eyes travel to the pit where the conductor’s arm is paused midair. Once and again a bond with the stick is made as it begins to flaunt and conjure and she easily steps into the slipstream following the major chord.
The exalted feeling is somewhere amid earthbound limitation. That gift does not come from a butt in the seat. Habit dictates she play her part without hesitation, as there is a cycle to round every week about this time.
When there isn’t scenery one must chew the curtain. The deep crimson fabric pulled up into a sculptured form hovering and leering at the wraithlike audience. The newly replaced footlights again glare like skinned eyeballs staring down and daring a reaction. Her flow steps up into the air and glides from stage left to right. This is when you can believe you are in the presence of a god. She knows sometimes it does not happen. Sometimes everything is in place and there is only disappointment. A spin turns staccato, as she becomes a marionette leaping and dragged down stage.
Rejected again. They aren’t coming. You think my dancing stinks? How about this move…
With a chaotic thrash of the body her leg shoots out and a foot ends in a severe punt to a footlight.
How does this one grab you?
Chaos takes the dance away from her.
One by one the lights erupt, flicker and die.
…And this, ass, they are foot-lights, yes?
She spins and hits with deft precision of practice until the only glow left is coming from her face.
The music ends in a deadly crescendo as her breath heaves and the lyrical stillness left behind brings her back to perennial dark Monday. Audition was again over for another week. She descended the stage steps into the house, making room for Next.