This short story emerged from a writing exercise given to us at one of our weekly writing sessions, related to recall and how we bring our memories forth. As I had previously read David Rock’s Your Brain at work, I used his idea of working memory to construct this very short story.
Hope you enjoy……….
Taking Centre stage
Julianne, steps out from behind the curtain and onto the stage, enjoying the isolation and the sense of command and control as the spotlight seeks to follow her. Looking out towards the darkened auditorium, she can hear faint rustles, whispered conversations, low breaths as her audience waits. In the dark it is impossible for her to see anything clearly, but that does not matter. She knows that they will come when summoned and allowed to share her stage.
The question is, which will she choose first? She closes her eyes, raises her hands, pulls in the breath from her diaphragm and lets out a wail that forces its way up through her core and pours from her throat. Julianne finds to her surprise that her first calling is ‘regret’ and she does this several times until from the very back of the auditorium, particles of light coalesce and take the shape of a young man. And it’s this shape, that of a first love that moves slowly and reluctantly towards the stage.
‘So here you are’, she whispers as the figure glides and stands before her. ‘Why am I here?’ Asked in his familiar low raspy tone, with just a hint of impatience in it. Julianne chooses not to answer, this is her moment and she is going to savour it to the full, because she can. Instead she walks slowly around the figure, taking in his height, the faded jeans and the baggy green jumper hanging loosely over his bony frame. If anyone is going to be asking questions, it will be her.
Turning again to the front, she decides to call again.
This time it’s the music that reaches her first, a disco number from the early 90s and as Julianne’s feet start to tap to Robin S’s, ‘Show Me Love’, another figure coalesces from the middle of the auditorium and makes its way to the stage. It’s the coke dealer, she had met in a nightclub in Lanzarote whilst on holiday. A short blonde-haired woman, who had earnestly confided to her that she wanted a change of career, to move across to something in IT. ‘Ahh, irony’ thinks Julianne as her mouth curls in a smile. However, it freezes as another figure coalesces and makes its way to the stage. ‘What the fuck?’ This time a different woman, same night club. Julianne recognises the tight black pants and the leopard print top straight away. Here is danger, unpredictability. Leopard print was a woman too used to getting what she wanted and had decided that for this night she had wanted Julianne. It had taken all Julianne’s strength to fight past her when the lights had suddenly dimmed in the ladies.
‘Something more uplifting and inspiring’, thinks Julianne as she dismisses ‘leopard print’ and turns once again to face the auditorium.
‘Don’t ever get give up, Julianne’, these words float across from the auditorium, accompanied by the whirr and throb of the Boucherie machines from the factory floor. ‘Thank you’, whispers Julianne as she acknowledges in gratitude the figure of the dark haired, serious looking man smiling down at her. His words had never left her.