Life Performers Series

by Joni Cham

(After Brief Histories by Gino Tioseco)

On his way to the theater, he marvels at the setting sun by the bay. Tomorrow, the world awaits for his verdict but tonight he hopes to be surrounded only with beauty.

She fidgets uncomfortably in her stiff dress. She waits for the performance to begin. She will never be as good. This knowledge both pains and frees her.

In a few more moments, he will have to go onstage, bathed in the bright lights, the thunderous applause. When he plays, he will be lost in the solitude of his own music.

The dance will be short. She needn’t smile for too long.

She shivers although it is by no means cold. The memory of making the very same movement, accompanied by the very same music, shakes something inside of her.

Tonight, finally, she goes onstage for a solo. Let all that she sacrificed, all that she lost, all that she let go, be worth it, she begs.

Listening to the familiar strains of the music, he remembers how he used to watch her dance at rehearsals, at the front row of her life. Now he watches from the sidelines.

Critics have described his tenor as "rich" and "thrilling." Numerous ovations and encores later, he only longs for the quiet clap from so long ago.

"If all the world is a stage, I would like a word with the director please."

She no longer dances. Her injury made sure of that. Still, each year without fail she comes to watch and relive the pain of loss.

He watches from the last row. He is gone before the final curtain falls.

Tonight he dances his last, takes his bow. Will he miss it? It does not matter. It is over.