She knew because she saw. Twirling whirling colors. Perfume in the cleft behind knees. Stilettos.
And she knew what she was going to see much before she walked into the theatre. She scanned the almost full auditorium till she found her. Shiny shouldered. She found a seat a couple of rows behind her, diagonally.
She smiled and semi-greeted the strangers who came to sit beside her.
“Is this seat taken?” someone asked.
No, come sit next to me. “No… Go ahead”. She smiled.
This was going to be good. The lights dimmed and the emcee walked onto the stage. She noticed the way his hands held the mic. He flashed his perfect white teeth at the audience and started his soliloquy. Phones off. No eating. Applause.
As the lights changed – dimmed and darkened – she watched as the lights fell on her hands. She moved her hands off the arm rest and the lights sunk into the cushiony soft velvetness of the seats. The same seats that stain so fast. Have been stained. She was sure of that.
As she watched the young girl in front of her watch the play, things seemed to fall into place. She preferred it when she let her imagination take over rather than having to grapple with reality. Who was this random girl watching some really badly made play all alone (seemingly)? But it is so much easier to put a face to the thought and get this agony over with. So her. So what?
The next day at some shopping mall she’ll find someone else to haunt. Even girls with beady eyes and plain faces. She was ready to slap a mask on anyone she found. She just needed a face to crush beneath her feet.
At night she would dream of white dresses and shadows dancing around a musical fountain. Light that splayed out of the fountain became paint and made swishes of green yellow blue pink orange on her white dress. She scoops water out of the fountain to wash off her painted speckled fingers. The water is chilly.
Once again she has a gaudy mask in her hands. The kind used in parades with feathers and glitter painted all over it. She placed it on her face, ready to walk on to the stage. The fountain gushed on, spraying more colors on to her now iridescent dress.
Cameras were whirling and the dance was on. The mask meant she saw everybody and no one saw her. It was a myth she was fooled into believing much too early in her life. Sometimes, as she dances, she cannot feel her feet; instead she is moving on sponge. As she whirls in and out of the spotlight she can hear the cheers around her. She is impressed at her impressiveness.
She looks down at the audience and the girl in the white dress is clapping for her. Admiration flickering in her eyes. Her neatly manicured fingers touch her glistening lips and she extends her hands towards the stage as she watches the dancer move – a kiss; a sign of affection. She is mesmerized.
The dancer looks at the audience once again. There they are applauding. A silhouette stands against the bright lights. It walks out the EXIT.
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