The singer’s downfall

This description is all about the nerves that you can feel when singing and how to move on after a failure.

Carlotta pressed her sticky, sweaty palms against the lace of her clingy black dress that seemed to stick to her like a second skin. Her feet, stuffed in her ridiculously tall stilettos so that her toes were stiff and cramped, throbbed incessantly. The roar of the crowd outside was deafening, and her head spun dizzily.

She heard the piano strike up the first jazzy opening chords of her song and then she flung her blonde hair back, her thick layers of makeup and smoky eye shadow glittering as it caught the light and sashayed onto the stage with way more confidence than she actually felt.

The bright spotlights, contrasting starkly with the gloominess of the surrounding bar, dazzled her, and for a brief moment, she stood stock-still, like a deer caught in the headlights of a car. Then she gathered herself and strode towards the waiting microphone.

 Ohgodohgodohgodohgod she whimpered internally as she picked up the microphone, grasping it in trembling fingers, and silence descended on the room like a curtain in a theatre. All that could be heard was the chink of glasses and the tinkle of spoons as her audience waited anxiously.

Then her voice rang out, the first strong, sweet notes echoing up to the ceiling, and the piano blitzed into its first few bars. She felt her enjoyment grow as the music swelled into a magnificent crescendo, and the audience were up on their feet, hooting their approval.

The misted glass of the window, fogged-up with condensation, winked mesmerizingly, and she gazed out into the sweet-smelling summer evening. She felt as though she was watching herself from above as she choked, nerves tightening her throat and making it impossible to breathe. “To be my lo-o-ve…” and then her voice petered out. A hush fell.

The first jeers didn’t seem to reach her ears. The entire world was muffled as she watched the booing audience abstractly. Then she snapped back into reality and staggered off the stage, wobbling on her heels. Her hand went absentmindedly to her face, and it came away wet with tears and splotched with runny mascara.

“Why do I have to make such a mess of things?” she murmured as she stumbled to the dressing room. A hand shot out from behind a rich purple curtain and closed on her wrist. “Hey!” she exclaimed and then she was pulled into the shoddy compartment.

A woman towered over her, glass in the shape of cut diamonds glittering around her wrinkled neck. She had a hawk’s nose and beady eyes like shiny blue beads. “You!” she thundered. “Madame Belissa.” Carlotta sighed.

“I’ve had enough! Three times that has happened at three different shows! I cannot have this going on, you understand?”

Carlotta nodded. “Next time I’ll-”

“Next time?” Madame Belissa snarled, her voice dropping to a low, menacing purr. “There will be no next time! You are fired! Understand me? Fired!”

Carlotta gaped like a fish. “But…but…” then her shoulders slumped, and the fight seemed to visibly melt from her body. “Fine. Whatever you say.” She sighed. It felt as though a dead weight had settled in the depths of her stomach.

Turning on her heel, she tottered out of the room. What were her family going to think of her now? Her stepsister: a well-known and respected lawyer with a blossoming career. Her, supposedly the clever one: previously a singer in a bar, now unemployed and unable to pay the rent. She swallowed the sob rising like bile in her throat.

 Just that weekend her stepmother had reminded her of just how utterly useless she was. They had been sitting in her sister’s dining room, the table laid with silverware which was polished to perfection. “Now,” she had begun, licking her dry lips with the tip of her tongue. “Carlotta, why don’t you tell your father about your new job? I mean-if you can really call it a job.”

Carlotta’s father, Benjamin, spoke in a slow, gravelly voice. “Don’t bother the child, Felicity.”

Her mother had harrumphed, her stepsister had smirked, and her father had continued eating his steak with deliberate chewing mouthfuls.

She was jolted back to the present by the swish of the river Thames against its banks, and she stared up at the sprinkling of stars in the heavens. No matter what, she knew that her real mother, her birth mother, was up there, watching over her. This thought gave her comfort as she strode down the pavement and was eventually swallowed up by the night.

Published by Mara

I am a literary lover with a passion for animals (particularly ducks, geese and swans!) writing, and reading! Along with my precious pooch Maxy (who's also a Class A destroyer) and my little budgie Woody with a BIG attitude, I will make you laugh, cry and learn through words! Enjoy!

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