Character Pieces, Home

The Show Must Go On

A good Performer knows how to entertain a crowd throughout the entire performance.

A good Entertainer knows how to keep a crowd entertained long after the performance is over.

And no one is a better Entertainer than my partner.

With every gesture he commands the crowds. With every wave of his hands, he summons thunderous applause. Every snap of his fingers draws their gazes. Every click of his heel and every smile draws his audience deeper and deeper into the narrative. A narrative he forms with every carefully enunciated word, every perfectly timed pause, and every fluttering breath.

It’s a careful balancing act, one so easy to loose not only the watching crowd in, but yourself if you’re not careful. Good thing my partner is well versed in control. He keeps himself in check, he whips his perfectly crafted mask on and off with (frightening) ease.

One moment he’s this powerful force of an Entertainer; suave, eloquent, with a smile so real even you sometimes have trouble remembering it’s an act. Gliding across the stage like a dancer who’s had decades of training.

The next; his shoulders are dropping like he’s Atlas and the weight of the sky has become just a touch, too heavy. His wide smile will fall, his eyes will dim, and he will march off into the shadows, out of sight, like a man told he has little time left to live.

While you follow like a shadow at his heels. Ready to be his shield, his sword, or just a shoulder to lean against while he rests.

Shadow. There is no better word for what you are in comparison. You can fake your way through the motions, repeat his actions for the crowds, and have only the most observant notice the difference.

Oh, you can match his tones, copy his movements, but you could never be like him. You haven’t figured out how to give yourself so completely to the act. How to devote everything that you are to the performance. You’re not sure you could. You’re not confident at all that you could do what he does. How he manages to let the world drain him day in and day out only to pop back up over and over without issue, you don’t understand. If it were you, you know you would shatter.

You can walk the walk, talk the talk, but you couldn’t keep up the same pace over and over and over — without consequence. You wonder how he does it, but you never ask.

(You know you never will, you’re too afraid of the answer.)

So instead, you play your part — every part he gives you. Every part he needs you to play, without complaint.

And it’s so easy, too easy. You play well off and with each other, banter rising between the two of you with seamless ease. With every step he takes, you counter, or follow, a grinning beauty at his side. Always at his side, never out of sight just in case he needs you. On and off the stage.

Because you know what the crowds don’t see. What they cannot be allowed to see. You know the real him. You’ve known him all your youth, this careful and staggering man, what’s the rest of your life in comparison?

So you dance, you sing, you crack jokes with him, with the crowd that will only ever see his best. (Even if you half to break yourself to make sure.) You follow his lead, catch him when the curtain falls, and make sure he’s ready for the next performance.

All because he asks you too. You don’t think it’s possible for you to say no to him. No matter how impossible it might seem, no matter how much it hurts. No one ever said showbiz was easy, after all.

The show must always go on, right? No matter what it takes.

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