Butterflies for Nothing

March 15, 2009
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The only thing dividing me and the stage a thin black curtain
My heart pumping
Faster than the heart of Ichabod
As he darted through the onyx night, evading the grasp of the headless horseman.
My heart threatened to burst a hole in my chest
The blood swirled too fast through my veins, making my world spin.
My hands coated with perspiration
My mascara feeling heavy on my eyelids
Warping my vision.
The scents of cheap lipstick, worn leather slippers, and sweaty dancers mixed together and drifted around me in a daze
I stood there swaying.

I talked absently with my fellow dancers
Pretending we had a care in the world besides our routine.
We all looked like china dolls:
Pristine white gowns that reached out knees,
Our scalps stretched back to form a perfect bun,
Makeup applied heavily,
Like a child had been experimenting with colors and shapes.

When someone finally twirled me around to face either humiliation or ecstasy
I felt the butterflies in my stomach;
They were about to fly out of my mouth.
I dashed daintily to the wings of the stage
And waited for the prior dancers to dance their last steps.
Finally my moment had arrived.

I poised my palms in the shape of a tulip
My smile in the shape of an orange slice,
Charming and sweet.
I crept into the bright lights
Blindly shuffling across the stage.
It was all downhill from there.
My heart had stopped trying to strangle me
The adrenaline sank back down inside me
Killing the high.

All those butterflies for nothing.

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