14 Nov 2012

4 Shades of Paris

4th installment


''You're on in five minutes'' he whispers.  I look up, confused.  ''What do you mean?'' I ask.  ''I know it's not quite the West End, but it's a start'' he says, grinning at me.  I stare into the mirror, a tight ball of fear beginning to clog my throat.  Could this really be happening?  “But I don’t have a song prepared” I squeak.  “But you do” he mutters earnestly.  Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always dreamed of performing “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret, to recreate the one and only Sally Bowles.  Nights would be spent practicing under the bed covers to mirror the vocals of Liza Minnelli in the 1972 film.  I foolishly told him this whilst gorging on a plateful of food in the restaurant.  “But how…?” I attempt to struggle with him, but he places two fingers against my lips.  “You ask too many questions” he responds, smiling.

I begin to feel that all too familiar sensation of butterflies flitting around excitedly in my stomach.  A rush of adrenaline makes my heart pound and my breathing becomes shallower.  He gently touches my arm and I shiver.  “Follow me” he says, gripping my hand.  “But what about my shoes?” I fret.   I lift up my sweeping ball gown to show him a pair of navy blue converse.  “I thought you might be wondering” he chuckles, “will these do?”

Cinderella’s glass slippers are nothing in comparison to what my eyes behold.  Gold satin heels with shimmering gold beads, hand-stitched into a forest of wild flowers.  Time is running out and I gently slip my left foot into the silky insides of one heel, followed by my right.  Like a magician, he brings out a gorgeous corsage of cream roses from behind his back which he promptly ties to my wrist, with all the delicacy of a bee to a flower.  My hair is still tied in a firm bun from earlier, but I feel him gently ease his hand through my locks and before I know it my vibrant red tresses are bouncing and flowing in perfect ringlets.


I'm centre stage.  The bright lights are blinding me somewhat but I don't let them vex me.  A sea of black stares back at me, and I'm not able to make out any faces in the glaring light, but I can sense the heaviness of the crowd, the murmurings, the chinking of wine glasses.  I hear the first note on the piano loosen up, joined by a faint drum beat.  My cue is getting closer, but it's as if the words are stuck on the edge of my lips and can't seem to move.  I take one large breath and open my mouth.

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