Naomi Sheely, “The Theatre”

I mock the audience’s unified gasp from the plot twist that
this love disaster has been building to. I can hear the crowd clearly
through the thick wooden doors that I pass on my way to my private
booth. What a bunch of ninnies. Even a blind woman could have
seen his betrayal coming. Maybe one could ignore the late nights at
work or the sudden interest in putting some extra time in at the gym,
but smiling when he’s texting someone else? No ma’am. That cannot
be excused. Neither can the fact that these simpletons were surprised.
I slow as I come to a door with a charred wood finish and
take a deep breath. For a moment, I can smell the fire, the power
smoldered into it. I caress my golden nameplate before entering.
A single white chair sits on the red plush carpet of the booth.
I quickly navigate to the seat, smooth the nonexistent wrinkles from
my bright red pencil dress, and fold into the comfort of the chair.
“You missed it,” calls a familiar voice from the booth to my left.
“I assure you, I missed nothing.”
A smaller, shocked gasp rolls through the audience at the
audacity of whatever tripe the mooch is spouting off now. I don’t
bother to turn my attention to the stage yet.
Instead, I focus on my neighbor’s booth and the light
scraping sound of drawing a tissue.
“It’s tragic, really,” she says over the sound.
“Is it?”
“Oh, you wouldn’t get it.”
“No, I wouldn’t.” I agree, dry eyes and bored with what we
have become.
I stand, sickened by the display and everyone here.
“Where are you going?”
I ignore her even as I hear the rustling of the trademark
navy-blue dress she favors.
“What are you going to do?” she tries again.
I run my fingers along the handle of the bat I keep perched
against the back wall before grabbing it firmly.
“What needs to be done,” I answer as I exit the booth.
The heavy wooden door slams shut loudly behind me, the
nameplate with its engraved “Anger” rattling in its holder.
I swing the bat confidently as I pass doors with their own
nameplates: Grief, Love, Joy, Anxiety.
I head for the stage, confident in my upcoming part, an
unwilling spectator to this travesty no longer.

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