Caught in the Stage Light

December 11, 2008
By
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Heidi Harris!”
The applause swallowed the end of the name as the young star took the center stage. She took a bow and tuned her violin while the audience read in their programs that Heidi was only seventeen, that she was attending Eastman and that she had a dog named Jojo. Then the lights dimmed even more and they were forced to look at Heidi herself and the orchestra behind her.

Heidi had always been told that stage lights did nothing to help complexion and appearance. Her dress and makeup always had to have the ‘spotlight check’ before the big night. This evening the lights weren’t helping the audience either. In the gloom their faces fell into grotesque poses. With each second they seemed to come nearer, their eyes starring cruelly into her face. The conductor was looking at her too, waiting for her cue to begin. The violists were admiring her dress. She could feel their eyes on her back. She told a shaky breath raised her bow and began.

The melody was slow and romantic and Heidi had played only a few measures before the bald man in row two leaned over and kissed his wife on the cheek. But the music did not have as good an effect on Heidi.

Who ever had set up the orchestra chairs must have forgotten that she was playing because they had left her hardly any room to move. Three feet, maybe three and a half. Heidi liked to dance with her music, and tonight she was forced to keep her feet locked in place to avoid tumbling off the front of the stage.

She knew the song well and knew that even the conductor as following her every move. She knew that the piece was twenty-eight minutes long and suddenly remembered that there was a matinee tomorrow that she had to play at again.

The lights burned her cheeks as she drew the bow back and forth across the strings. A blister from walking to too many rehearsals in high heels surfaced as she carefully shifted her weight. A strand of hair came loose and fell in front of her eyes but Heidi could still see the sea of starring eyes. And tomorrow would be the same, and next week and the week after that and the next month and the following year.

The clapping brought her back to the present. She must have finished playing, but couldn’t really remember. The crowd was on their feet, their faces closer than ever, applauding wildly, stupidly. They wanted an encore.

As the orchestra fumbled with their music, Heidi realized what it meant to be caught in the stage light.





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cocopop08 said...
Dec. 28, 2008 at 4:58 pm
this story bespeaks a great author! can you write more, gabbie s? i like it.
 
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