The stage was brightly lit. The last few microphones were being tested by the PA crew, then the men faded into the darkness as the first spectators arrived. The curtains closed.

 
She sat alone in the corner, just behind the curtains, stroking the soft velvet in silence.

 
It wasn’t too long ago, was it? She thought to herself, eyes closed. The exhilaration of showing her best to the world—a glimpse of the brilliant past, warmed her tired, calloused heart for a fleeting moment. She saw herself, much younger then, galloping through meadows of bright blooming flowers, unafraid, exuberant, and full of joy. She remembered the thunderous applause and sighed sweetly.

 
No, it’s not about the applause. It’s something else. What is it.

Things changed along the way. She remembers all the blackouts. The murmuring among the audience, the furtive glances cast at her. The isolation and the loneliness. The incidents where other performers stole the show. The poisonous words hurled at her. She looked to the left and right with fear and panick in her eyes, uncertain where to turn to. Fear consumed and crippled her courageous heart.  It ended in discouragement, disillusionment, and total disgrace.

 
Mocking laughter resonated around the hall. It was ten times louder in her ears.

 
The curtains were hurriedly drawn. She retreated in terror, clutching the curtains tightly to ensure she would never again be vulnerable to the piercing stare of the crowd….

 
Numbed. Ideals shattered, she never ventured out into the limelight anymore. What’s the point, she’d shrug with cynicism. Sometimes she’d oblige to play a minor role, but she always hid her true self either behind layers of masks or behind someone’s back. She’d try hard to play a forgettable part. Obscurity was her place of refuge.

 
You know the feeling.

 
And fiction ends.

* * * 

Come on, move away!

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