Author: L. Duarte
Publication Date: January 23, 2017
Publisher: LD Publishing LLC
Cover Designer: Okay Creations
Everyone has a story.
Mine went like this: Once upon a time, I met a boy. He was the most handsome fella in the land. I fell in love. Together, we had cosmic chemistry. I believed I would live a life of unending bliss. Until he broke my heart. Shattered it to pieces. And I lived unhappily ever after instead. The end.
Or so I thought.
Life found a way to reunite us. But to change that unhappy ending, I had to learn how to forgive. And my heart seemed unable to do so.
This is a love story. But it is also, much more. It’s the story of how I coped with my shortcomings, my fears and rewrote my destiny. Everyone has a story. This is mine.
I stepped back. Not literally, just figuratively. I did that with every concert. I allowed my mind’s eyes to hover over me and my fans while I analyzed and dissected the unique relationship between us.
As I watched the multitude of people—a beautiful kaleidoscope of different races and social statuses—my heart, in utter bliss, roared.
The audience held their hands upwards as if in an offering or a request. I never knew which. In perfect synchrony, their arms rolled in waves like the swaying of a stormy sea. Their voices cried out my name, and the smell of their sweat and the heat of their mingled bodies emanated from them, unfurling to me like the sweet perfume of incense.
I held the mic near my motionless lips and stared at them. At that moment, I became one with thousands. At that moment, I took back from the crowd all the energy I had fed them. And their vibe made me high and drunk. It was my personal Nirvana. The kind of rapture that can only be attained through uttermost intimacy. A oneness I had only felt with one other person. A person who had severed that connection and shattered my heart into a million shards of pain.
I worshiped them as they adored me. The exchange of atomic energy contained nuclear power. I was drained from giving. They were wasted from receiving. But we were both impossibly happy and satisfied.
My motionless lips finally moved, uttering the final words for the night. The parting words. “Good night, Sydney!” I waved a hand back at them. “You looked beautiful tonight. All forty thousand of you.”
I bowed. They deserved my reverence. People had spent their time camped outside the venue waiting for a closer glance at me. They had spent their precious earned money to see my performance. They were worthy of my respect and gratitude.
Another wave of a hand. A kiss. Another bow. And I was out. Another show was done. Eight more to go.
I jogged backstage and gave the mic to Jeremy, my makeup artist, in exchange for a bottled water. He opened a portable case containing all the potions that would quickly improve my appearance for the meet and greet.
Before I took a swig from the bottle, Clara, my assistant, brusquely interrupted my post-concert ritual. She snatched the bottle from my hand and returned it to a confused Jeremy. “Gray. With me,” she demanded, grabbing my elbow and urging me toward my changing room.
I glanced back at the stunned face of Jeremy. It was time for meet and greet with the VIP’s. I needed to freshen up. My makeup had all but melted under the stage lights.
Once inside the privacy of the room, I demanded, “What’s going on?”
She raised a finger and said, “Wait.”
I opened my mouth to protest. Instead, I swallowed the words. Clara was usually a chatterbox; her clipped words quickly clued me in that something was seriously wrong.
As I waited, Clara dialed a number on her phone. Her silence became as unnerving as the red glare of an alarm light.
“Betty, I have Gray,” Clara said. Wordlessly, she shoved the device in my hand. The door closed with a thud after she exited in a flurry of silent drama.
“Mama?” I asked holding the phone to my ear.
“Hey, Puppy,” Mama said in a soft, almost regretful tone.
“What’s going on?” I asked. Silence filled the other end of the line, only increasing my concern. Mama knew I had just left the stage. She followed my tour from home. Minute by minute. It was unusual for her to call me so soon following a show.
“How was, um, the, um, concert?” she asked.
“Mama, did you call me to ask how the show went?” I furrowed my brows and every hair on my body stood at attention. Mama knew my routine during a tour. After a performance, I had a brief meet with fans and then I would go on hours of silence to rest my vocal cords. Although she knew she could call me at any time, she never called until at least ten hours following a show.
“Mama?” I prodded after a long silence.
“I have cancer,” she said bluntly.
The phone connection was perfect. No static. But Mama’s words hummed in my ear with a tunnel-like quality. Distorted, altered, garbled. My mind, however, had remained sharp and alert. Without much thought and after a brief pause, I uttered the words, “I’m coming home.” I hadn’t said those words in over a decade. Somehow, they didn’t taste as foreign as I had imagined they would.
L. Duarte is offering a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner!
I have found that there is only one thing better than reading, and that is writing. I am always torn between the two. I am also frequently torn between chocolate and coffee. However, I emphatically do not like the month of February, lies, and flies. For me, bravery is defined by the courage to do what we fear the most. I live in Connecticut with my husband and two children. Drop a few lines. I would love to hear from you.
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