I step onto the stage.
This moment is the culmination of my dreams, and it makes all my sacrifices worthwhile.
I feel fluttering within, like a butterfly is dancing in my stomach. I am hot; my hands are clammy as I hold the mic. My mind wanders to the conversation I had with Harry, my manager, a little over an hour ago.
‘There’ll be a talent scout in the audience tonight, Rona,’ he’d said. ‘This could be your chance.’ He gripped my shaking hands and held them between his own. ‘It could be the moment we’ve been working towards. It’s your time. Now is when you get discovered. I just know it.’
He was holding my hands so tightly I winced. As he loosened his grip, I felt nauseated and overwhelmed, scared and excited, all at once.
I can’t think about that now. The spotlight switches on, flooding the area around me. The pianist begins the introduction. The gleam from the light blinds me. I blink, draw breath to fill my diaphragm and…open my mouth to sing.
When my set is over the crowd cheers and roars. I walk off stage, Harry throws his arms around me and draws me into his sweaty girth.
‘You were fabulous, Rona.’ He kisses my cheek as I collapse in relief and exhaustion.
When I come to, I am in the dressing room. Harry sits next to me, leaning forward with a furrowed brow.
‘Good, you’re back. Look alive, Rona. The scout’s in the hallway. I’ve put him off as long as I can.’
I sip the water he’s offering me. I nod. ‘Send him in.’ I stand, smooth the front of my dress and check my makeup in the mirror.
‘I’m ready, Harry.’