Just keep sitting there. Yes. Like that. Like you always do. Passive. Waiting. When the star is ready, she will open her mouth as if to scream, move an arm carefully … like this [slash] … you will be momentarily blinded by the stage lights glaring off metal and the action will begin.
As my blood drips, staining the boards, I will hear your breath held so stupidly in check. Trust me. I know, better than you do, what needs to happen next.
My mouth will open wider, my vocal chords will tighten in the way they’ve been trained to and a sound will issue forth, filling this space with pain, heartbreak, regret and your tears will flow freely tonight.
You call me Divina. In your pedestrian memory, I am the exhilarating, brown-eyed Tosca and my heart nests in yours alone. You dream at night about my Elvira, hearing that clear, high E when you ejaculate under the sheets. You know fuck all about me. My real name, my true being, has been lost beneath all of your adulation. I have spent my life trying to please all of you out there. And I’m damned if I understand why.
I can be everyone but never myself. My life onstage is the only real thing, all else is artifice.
I could blame Jackie for my lingering depression. For bringing me to this final performance. That savage way she moved in on Ari when I needed him most … but it wasn’t her fault. He would have turned to anyone after I lost our first child and then couldn’t manage to successfully brew any more of them with him. I deserted my husband and gave myself up to another. Completely and oh so foolishly. Battista? I know you are out there and love me still. With my final breath, I will beg your forgiveness.
Yes, dear audience, this is only the first act in tonight’s opera. But it is my last. Mea culpa. Refunds may be requested at the box office.
I am feeling very weak and must now make my final exit, stage left, whispering my real name. The one none of you could ever pronounce. I am Mary Anna Kalogeropoulos.
Sogni d’oro. Good night.