Composed 2 /13/13
Description: Another lit art’s mag hopeful. It’s strange; I wrote this almost exactly a year ago, and here I am looking at it again! When I wrote this, it was originally part of a “100 Themes” challenge. The theme was “Introduction.”
She remembered Frank’s words.
You know, they say people make first impressions in as little as half a second.
Half a second. That is how long it would take to decide her fate.
The sequins on her red, fitted jacket burst forth in sparkle as the strobes flashed. She barely had time to catch a glimpse of the man in the long-tailed suit coat throw his hands up and jump into an exuberant stance of victory before the fog machines released another cloud of red and purple smoke. Confetti in colors of the rainbow rained down from the balcony. The audience’s roars were deafening.
He was good. He had tigers. How was she supposed to compete with that?
Thalia tugged on her stark white, elbow length gloves, the only object visible backstage. She gulped and glanced down, focusing on every crease and imagining doves spilling out of her fingertips.
Her heart was beating faster than it ever had. It all culminated here. If she failed, it was over. She had been lucky to get this five minute slot; so many other venues had refused her. Frank, the owner’s son, had only given her this chance – one chance he said – because he’d wanted to take her out to dinner. If she failed, there would be no way he could convince his father to let her have another try. She’d have to drag her feet back to Romano and meekly accept his offer.
Thalia shuttered as she imagined joining Romano’s league of sleazy showgirls. That’s not what she wanted. That wasn’t her dream. Her dream was to make her own way in the world, to do what she loved – magic.
Her guardian had been a lover of magic, and that kindly old man with the wrinkled hands and pale blue eyes had her entranced the first time he pulled a flower out of her ear.
All at once she was in a small, cozy apartment, spread out on the ugly blue and green rug with the tattered edges. She squealed in glee as she picked out a two of hearts and the man nodded.
“I’m going to be a famous magician one day!” Thalia announced with the kind of happy arrogance only three year olds are capable of.
“You certainly are,” said that man in his warm, wispy voice. He was smiling. “And you are going to make me very proud.”
The ferocious roar of a giant cat, and then the audience, broke Thalia from her daze. Her black eyes narrowed, and her slender hands clenched. No, magic was not just a way to make a living, not just a passion to her; it was also her sole connection to the only person she had ever loved.
She would do this. She would live her dream.
The slender man in black took a bow. Only seconds now. Seconds until her name was called.
And then half a second. Half a second in which the audience decided her fate. Half a second would determine her future, her survival, her pride. The loudspeaker squeaked; an announcer called her name.
In a half a second, her whole life would change.
She stepped onto the stage. They cheered.