the red curtain falls, hem skimming the stage; the play ends, and the doe-eyed ingenue looks briefly unsure of herself. she recovers quickly, swirling curls over her shoulder and hastily rearranging the line of her dress over her knees.
it’s her last performance of the year and she listens, tries to pinpoint the exact moment when the applause starts. it’s been a game she plays with herself since the first night, and she never wins. tonight is no exception, but when she peeks out from the edge of the curtain, people are starting to rise to their feet.
from the other curtain there’s a tiny motion, barely noticeable if she wasn’t looking for it. standing ovation, mouths her co-lead. the words sparkle through her brain, shimmer in the air as if she’s written them with a firework.
the curtain rises just as the cast finish lining up.