Summary: Just a normal woman.
Word Count: 379
She’s a performer. Her audience watches her closely, comments on every move she makes. They cheer for her, applaud if she performs well, and if not they berate, boo, belittle. Sometimes they stare in silent disapproval, and the noise of it makes her ears hurt. She performs— and nothing goes unobserved, unjudged.
She performs. Her stage is cluttered with obstacles, around which she has learnt to manoeuvre masterfully. She does not collide, steps no one on their toes, smiles and nods, and clears the way. She’s never bothered by demands, interruptions. She works her way through everything life and people lay in her way, and she smiles and makes it easy to ignore how it drains her, and the audience applauds kindly.
She performs. Cooks, cleans, washes, operates as requested, is friend, mother, wife, lover, fills whichever role is required to her best ability and more, and the audience cheers—and demands more.
She performs. Make up, hairstyle, latest fashion. Nails painted tastefully. Beige-pink, never too loud, never too plain. Short skirt—not too short, mind you—high heels, show your legs, display your waist, be what they expect. When was the last time she ate as much as she really wanted? The spotlight is unforgiving, and so is the audience. They scrutinise.
She slips. Says, “I don’t like,” says “I want,” cracks, fails to satisfy all demands; and the audience is outraged. Their disapproval proving too much to handle, she picks herself up. Perfects her performance. The audience voices their careful approval. She’s on probation, but it doesn’t matter. She can do better, can do more, can do even more perfect. And she does, she performs.
Sometimes she wishes her theatre were empty, the curtains closed, the seats deserted. Then she would step in front of the gold-rimmed fabric and perform to no one. And no one would applause, or cheer, or scold. There would be no praise, no censure, no comment, no categorising, no assessing.
She’d feel free to do as she liked, pick her own road to Rome, in her own time and her own fashion. And then she would simply cease performing, would sit down at the edge of the stage, kick her shoes off and let her feet dangle, and just be.