Short Story: Spotlight


Please. I just want to sit in the dark a while longer. Please. Just stop knocking on the door. I know you’re there and I’m not going to open it. “Go away”. Please.

“Marney, come on, this is silly, just open…” I press my hands hard over my ears, so that they suck onto my palms and create a vacuum to block out the sound. I can’t really hear the sounds outside anymore, but I can feel the vibration of the door rattling the frame and the frame rattling the thin walls as they pummel the door outside mercilessly for me to come out and do what they could never do.

I know it’s silly. I know I’ve done this a million times before. I know once I’m out there and doing it, everything will fade away. I just want a little while longer, hiding here in the shadow. It’s so bright out there, and loud. The earpieces that direct my own voice back inside my head in that hideous instant loop do nothing to stop the roar in front of me, and the glasses I am supposed to wear do nothing to hide the glare flashing in my direction. I just want my moment of solitude before I’m exploded in front of them all, exposed with nowhere to hide except behind their expectation.

It doesn’t all fade away you know. “In a minute.” It never does. It builds and builds, the fear of failure, until you either lay down and die or do what you’re trained to and perform. ‘Even animals can perform’, my dad would say. So I perform, I smile, I sycophantically wave and welcome their yelps of pathetic adulation. Oh I don’t know. I love them for loving me, and some of them are so devoted. “I said I’m coming.” Some of them are downright weird, but it’s sweet some of the stuff they do. They really do like me, and that’s comforting in a knock-all-the-air-out-of-you kind of way. 

They’re not going to let me sit in this darkness any longer. I take my hot hands away from my head and the suction of my ears on my palms is nice. Not soothing really but sort of funny. Flick on the light, open the door. “Oh my god Marney this has to stop.” Brush my hair, patch up my make-up, pull me there and here and “ow, get your hand off….” and I’m in the corridor and I’m running with eight other people. 

The roar has already started and I can feel it approaching like a monster ahead. My anger is battling the terror balled in my stomach. Up these stairs, across the platform. “Hold there please. We go in twenty. I’m a big fan, I’m so ple…”. Staring at the cross on the stage. I’m not going to look at the crowd. I know they’re there, they know I’m here. I won’t look. “Ten, nine, eight. Ready? ARE YOU READY? Six, Five…”

In front of me explodes, I’m blind and I’m deaf, again. I turn my head as I take my first step forward. “You’re all fired.”

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