Focal Point

April 8, 2009
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The curtain fell, and she could hear the clapping through the fabric. Everyone rushed to get off stage before the curtain went back up and the bows could start. There was pushing, shoving and general mayhem. The stars shoved to the back, since they would be last, and the lesser mortals pressed together as close to the edge of the stage as possible without actually being onstage. Quickly, the ensemble linked hands as the curtain went up, and Frank pulled the line onto the stage. The crowd roared. She could hear some people shouting names, but she couldn't discern them. She was certain none were her own, however. She hadn't invited anyone.



As the secondary characters moved in, the clapping escalated. Some people were standing, and it was obviously for Ellen, who had been amazing tonight. Every single word and note that came from her mouth had been exquisite. Her best ever, no question. She clapped for Ellen as well, because Ellen truly deserved the recognition. Ellen had worked so hard over the years for that.



The more notable characters came out, and almost everyone was already standing. There were some in the front row that she could barely see who had their behinds firmly planted in their seats, and she could tell that they were the type who stood only for the stars.



Finally, the two leads walked onto the stage and the crowd exploded. The screams and yells from the back of the auditorium were heard, and the stars glowed with pride. In their moment of glory, nothing was wrong. They bowed and gestured to the orchestra and the rest of the cast. Her hands were becoming numb from clapping.



After what felt like an age, the curtain fell again. Eventually the final applauders were quiet and she could hear everyone busying themselves getting out of the theater. She followed the rest of the cast to the meeting room, and the director gushed over the fabulous performance. Everything, he said, was perfect. The perfect show. Never one better, and he'd been doing this, after all, for thirty years. A full house. Pure perfection. She smiled along with everyone else.



She changed and walked out to meet the crowd. She heard the squeals of delight as Anna, the female lead, received bouquet after bouquet of beautiful flowers. She heard men much older and younger than Anna tell her how beautiful she was, and how beautiful her voice was. She heard men offering to be her agent, offering to set up appointments with famous casting directors. Anna thanked each one, taking their phones numbers and cards, accepting date after date.



She turned around to walk in another direction. She saw Ellen surrounded by admirers. Ellen was older, but she received just as many cards and offers as Anna. She heard old women gushing over Ellen, telling her that they had never heard a voice as glorious in years.



She turned around to walk in another direction. Frank was holding his baby daughter. Her wide eyes glanced over everything, focusing occasionally on her father. Young women cooed over the child, telling Frank that she had his eyes, nose, ears, everything. They told him how beautiful his daughter was. They told him that, oh yes, he did very well in the production as well.



She turned around to walk in another direction. There was a man standing there, with a huge bouquet of red roses. It was larger than any of Anna's bouquets. The man was barely taller than her. He had glasses and a bald spot. He wore a black coat and a kind smile on his lips. She stopped. She stared at him for a moment.



"Hello," he said quietly, but she heard him over the babble of everyone's praise and thanks.



"Hello," she said back. He walked up to her, and some people stopped and stared at this small man with the biggest of all bouquets.



"You were amazing tonight," he said, handing her the flowers. "It was your best performance yet." She stared at him. More people stared at her. More people stared at her flowers. More people stared at this man.



She looked down at the beautiful roses in her arms, then back up at him. "Thank you."



"You're welcome," he said. He turned to leave, and it was quiet. Everyone was staring at her. He turned around to look at her again, as though remembering something, and said, with a smile, "I can see you, Melody."





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