There you are, elevated on stage with the spotlight beaming down, illuminating the hairs standing up in your cowlick. Your right hand nervously cupping the microphone while you search for your content on your phone.
Where is the file
Which one should I read
Why does my phone keep locking??!!
You can’t see me- the lights in your eyes are so bright you feel you are performing in front of a black hole but you can hear the sound of my breathing, you can smell the perspiration leaking from my pores and you know I am there… waiting.
You find the stanza and nervously apologize to the black hole for making it wait, asking it silently to avoid swallowing you whole for just one more minute. As you begin to read, you find your voice shaky and the words that you wrote seemed to come from a stranger as you trip over the alliteration, trying to find the rhythm that was there at its inception.
I am now squirming in my chair. I know you can’t see me but I am holding my breath to give it to you. My sweat becomes your sweat and my heartbeat tunes to the pulsing of yours as I try to give you every ounce of calm I can offer- as if my life depends on it too.
BECAUSE IT DOES! If you fail, I fail! If you stutter and spit as you try to get the words out the way they came from your heart when you wrote them down then I am falling off that cliff too…
Second hand embarrassment- like second hand smoke- enters my lungs when you breathe it out of yours.
Just as potent, just as toxic.
I avert my eyes to my phone, scrolling through my newsfeed hoping to lessen my discomfort and to break the soul connection we have established. It doesn’t work. I can still smell your anguish coming from your armpits and hear the frightened child in your voice.
What more can I do?
I can listen to your heart
I can snap to show I hear
I can breathe until you are able to breathe on your own.
For in this moment- we are one.