I stood, proud and strong, with my back turned full to the house. My uneasy, bumped, bruised, and battered hands wrapped as tightly across my body as I could hold them; but it was not, and could never be tight enough. It was as if my arms were all that kept me from crumpling to the floor in a pile of rubble. My worn nails made unsatisfying slick scraping sounds as my tremulous fingers clutched at the sides of my too big, tan trench-coat. My hands wanted to hold on - hold tight to that coat - to anything they could.
A sticky, hot wash of salt-water and mascara ran across my face for the umpteenth time in those three months. I let the stream take its course; there was no hope to stem the flow now. My efforts to control these tears at the beginning of every night always fell victim to act two. My white flag may as well have been that coat I so desperately clung to in those moments; the proof was in the shallow pockets, packed with tissues, and sleeves, peppered with the now-dried remnants of old eye-makeup.
In the first breaths that the audience’s immense silence filled the auditorium, my eyes began to thirstily take in those glowing block letters. It was as if the water that pooled time and time again on my cheeks was rushing from a broken dam and I could do nothing to stop the flood. My eyes just desperately needed to fill themselves up again, before they ran dry and dead, and those names were their drink.
"A piece of my heart goes with each of them! A PIECE OF MY HEART!"