Stage Fright Poem by Livi Topley

Stage Fright

I waited behind the curtains with my hands around the waist of some guy that I hated. We used to sit in the downstairs lobby avoiding eye contact and awkward conversation, but now we stood in victorian dresses and shirts, trying to forget our past.
It was late. The intolerance of fatigue. And he smelt of his car and that made things just a little bit more difficult.
Had I been polite, I would of wished him good luck, that was the person I had become.
He was good looking, of coarse, athletic build and a broken smile that every now and again he fixed. And beneath all his make up, the stage lights and the nerves I saw the way he bit his lip. The way he used to.
Oh how reality would be the villian in this play.
Mother sat with father. Hand holding, ticket clutching goers who were always there. It gave me both comfort and distress to think of them. For this was when I became a different person, one with a little fewer problems, a bigger house and more self confidence. But he would linger to me like some ugly, misshapen scar.
I was not an actress. I was just someone that learnt lines and then pulled enough courage together to say them. That wasn't impressive. It was far from that.
Except, he was anyone he wanted to be since the words on a sheet of paper soon defined him. And that was the most inspiring thing of them all.
I watching the contours of his body through his elaborate clothing, his chest surging up and down as his breath became shortened with stage fright.
In my head I told him to calm down, somehow hoping this would be reflected in my eyes. Things would be okay.
We used to run lines round the back of his fathers fish and chip shop, making his characters come to life seemed to be too easy. Those were the days before such confrontation.
He stands in front of white wash walls with a white wash face.
It'll be okay.
The curtains came up.

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