Vanessa strides towards the center of the stage, a lone shimmering spotlight follows her faithfully as if to a wedding. The soles of her knee-high, red leather boots echo loudly over old floorboards; the public is silent in the darkness of the cabaret. She is wearing a very short, black ruffle dress, tied with a red sash across her waist. Vanessa has never been a petite nor lithe woman, a fact she has always been proud of.
She can barely make out the curves of the faces of those sitting in the front row. Unmoving, their faces were clearly oriented towards her, staring. They saw her, the faintest glimmer from the spotlight shone on their eyes and Vanessa saw; they adored her.
An old, but well-kept accordion was held in both her slender hands. Vanessa took a few more steps towards a lone microphone at the center of the stage, she leans forward with lips painted black, almost as if wanting to kiss it.
“I’m Vanessa, and this is Lucia.”, she raises the accordion as if showing her newborn, “We are Shattered Woman and Lucia. Now we’re going to play our song, just for you.”
Lucia stretches and compresses in Vanessas’s hands, her keys pressed with nimble fingers. A sensual, almost drawling, song breaks from Vanessa’s lips.
On a nameless street
I heard you calling
But when I got there
You were long gone
On a solitary corner
I now call you over
But you never answer
You were long gone
On an empty city
Everyone is quiet
And nobody answers
We are all long gone.
Vanessa playes Lucia for hours between bouts of applause that seem thunderous in the small, cramped space of the cabaret. At the end, she gets a standing ovation from the crowd. When the show is over, and the last person has gone home, Vanessa stays behind alone. She had asked the stage manager to leave the spotlight on for her. She would turn it off afterwards. Looking out at the dark rows of empty seats, Vanessa looks down at Lucia.
“Just you and me in the end like always, eh Lu?”
Slowly, she begins to play for no one else but herself, letting the music fill the empty space, to keep the silence at bay, if only for a moment longer.