Beatrix clasped her hat tightly to her head and shuddered as the cold wind whipped across the platform. Stage fright already had her firmly in its clutches, and the outdoor performance only increased her anxiety. What was she thinking? Singing in the shower was one thing; this was totally different. She gazed at the sea of faces before her and felt her heart beat even faster. Her breath caught in her throat as she thought of him in the audience–his reaction. What would he think? Would he think her a fool, an artist, or a lunatic? Her entire future might very well rest on this performance.
The audience murmured at the unexpected delay. A hush descended on the crowd as she cleared her throat and signaled to the band. Beatrix began crooning “They can’t take that away from me.” Her voice rose in pitch and volume, and the band–in rare form–performed as never before. Was it possible that they knew too? No matter, she couldn’t think of that now. She lost herself in the words, the melody, the feel of her heart breaking before the crowd…
When it was over, the audience remained silent for almost a full minute before bursting into applause. Her face reddened, but Beatrix only nodded once before gesturing to the band. Her fellow musicians bowed, but she had eyes for only one audience member. Then, flushed and happy, her entire body melted when she saw him smile and begin clapping with the crowd.
*inspired by a photo prompt and published in first draft form at the six minute story site on Thursday, December 3, 2015. The above version has been edited.