The Stage

The stage is made of wood. Light, almost white wood, as if bleached by sun and salty waves. Long planks, stretching out before my feet. The lights above are blindingly bright and hot enough to make you sweat. Some people would sweat regardless of the lights, from more internal reasons. A certain nervousness. A sickness to the stomach. Dizziness. Although the lights don’t help. The blindingly bright lights, heating you up, leaving the rest of the hall dark. And not a cool dark either, but a close and suffocating blackness, filled with hints of head-like shapes. Head-like shapes that just so happen to be actual heads. Rows upon rows of eyes, ears and minds, observing, listening, taking in what happens on the stage stretching out before me.

It’s empty, completely empty, just light wood and bright lights. I breathe out, almost sigh, and the sound of my breath is amplified by the silence. It echoes in my head. It travels through the darkness and now it echoes outside my head as well, off the walls and the ceiling. The sound rolls like waves and hits the sides of the head-like shapes. It drowns out the silence, it grows to roar of wind and sea and the hall fills with salty water. I can taste it as I gasp for breath. Ears filled with the roaring, mouth and nose filled with salty water. I cannot hear, speak or breath, but I can see, and I see the rows upon rows of head-like shapes, of eyes and ears and noses unclogged, open, scrutinizing. I close my eyes too. Wind, water and darkness. Heat.

I open my eyes. There is no sea water, nor any wind. There is only my own stocked breath and salty tears. There is no stage, no audience. Only my pillow, sheets, duvet. I wait for my face to dry, my heart to calm, my breath to stabilise. I close my eyes and imagine the long, white planks of wood. So soft, polished, inviting. Terrifying. I look at the alarm clock. It’s time to get up. I stretch, eat, breathe. Calm. It’s time to leave. It’s time to dance. This time I won’t drown.

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