853. Shooting Star

I did not pass out. I was kind of slow to get up, though, after the song ended. There was genuine interested cheering from the crowd. Somehow that was the last thing I was expecting.

I felt a wave of vertigo and then a wave of nausea, as if I’d sung so hard I made myself sick. I just sat there and breathed for a while and the feeling passed.

And then a lick of pure pleasure rose through me: post-show euphoria. Holy fuck. I did it. I threw my fists in the air and then got off the stage.

The British use the word “shattered” to mean “exhausted.” It always seemed like a weird use of the word to me, but that night it fit. I may as well have left pieces of myself all over that stage.

I had twenty five minutes to get myself back together. That included getting into my Ziggy stagewear. Should I call it an outfit? Suit? Costume? It was like clothes except none of it was for wearing anywhere else. I pulled it from the rack and then sat there with it in a folding chair because I needed to sit. I needed to stop moving and be still for a few minutes. I put my stage towel over my head to make a little private meditation tent for one. My heart was still hammering like crazy.

I wondered if maybe my heart was having a panic despite my brain being calmed chemically. I tried to think. What would I be panicking about now? Star*Gaze set was over. Ziggy’s set was probably going to be fine. There were no imminent threats to our safety or sanity. Digger was on another continent. So was Mills, for that matter. My hand felt okay right at that moment. Ziggy was fine as far as I knew. I turned the ring on my finger like I was turning a volume knob. Seeing it, touching it, was not as good as having a private moment with Ziggy, but it was overall a calming thing. So what was wrong with me?

What was wrong, I decided, was that I was worried that feeling like I was about to pass out was the result of mixing Flexeril and alcohol, and that I was in a no-win situation where if I stopped doing that, I wasn’t going to be able to play from cramps in my hand, but if I kept doing it I might black out right on the stage. That was a scary thought and one I was not doing a good job of facing. Shit. I felt guilty for needing the crutch. I felt guilty about drinking anything at all as if the worst thing about doing it wasn’t that I might black out but that I was doing something wrong by going against doctor’s orders.

Stupid, right? Okay, okay, I thought I promised I’d stop judging myself so harshly. Still. There I was basically in guilt-ridden paralysis until Colin caught up with me.

“You okay?”

“Fine, just wiped out.”

“That was amazing, you know.” He had crouched down to look into my face and he had such thick, dark eyelashes it looked almost like he was wearing eyeliner, even though he wasn’t. “I’ve never seen you like that. Well, maybe once. That time in the studio.”

“Cool,” I said, because I didn’t know what else to say. He was complimenting me. I didn’t want to disagree.

“But come on, you’re late getting dressed.”

“Okay.” I tried to stand up and didn’t make it, sitting back down. “In a minute.”

Colin motioned to someone else and the next thing I knew he and Bernard were working on me like I was a prize fighter between rounds. They peeled me out of my clothes. I was sweaty and chilly at the same time. They spritzed me with water and wiped me down and then dressed me like an oversized rag doll. Bernard did my full-on stage makeup. The whole process took under ten minutes.

I stood up and stayed up this time. Flip put a guitar on my shoulder and I was ready to go. The band was mustered to one side of the stage, the dancers on the other. At least, that’s where they were supposed to be. I couldn’t see them from this side, but I could picture them, Ziggy in all his rhinestoned, spandex glory in the middle of the gaggle. The lights went black and the crowd started screaming. A roadie lit the stairs with a flashlight so we could take our places without smashing our faces.

There’s a saying I’ve heard, maybe from Carl Sagan? If you go out looking for shooting stars, even if you only see one, your night’s been a success. No matter how long and dark and cold that night has been, that one bright streak across the sky makes it all worth it.

That was how I felt when the spotlight hit Ziggy.

(Site news! Next week we go back to a Tuesday/Thursday posting schedule! Yeahhhh!!! Thanks again to sanders for posting the fanworks and Amanda for compiling all the casting call posts this summer! I finally get to stay home for a while and write. My travels this summer took me to many places. In August I had one stretch that included stops in 13 states in 18 days. And I leave for Florida on Thursday… but after that I’m home for a whole month! Amazing, no? Later this week I’ll try to get the photos and stuff up from the meetup in Louisville. Patrons, look for weekly charges to start up again next week as well. More to come. -ctan)


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