Theme: Yes, AND…
Marguerite was almost blue in the face when Drucilla turned to see her by the curtain. The images of Drucilla’s father, Paolo, dehydrated and lying on the floor, disappeared. They were for sure not her real memories; how could they be? She hadn’t been born.
Drucilla wasn’t sure how long she had stood there but a lack of music coupled with a lack of applause told Drucilla she herself wasn’t meant to still be on stage. Marguerite, flapped her clipboard, waving for Drucilla to walk towards her. Finally Marguerite approached and guided her backstage.
As Drucilla left, the audience clapped, but it sounded half-hearted, unsure. She remembered singing, her words fading into memories, but now her mind was blurred like smudged watercolours. There were no defining lines, no features she could grab onto. The orchestra struck up and a male voice began, followed by a female’s, whom she instantly recognised as her understudy.
“Miss Dru, those weren’t just students paying to see the run-through. Katherine Hart had journalists attend…”
Drucilla allowed Marguerite’s voice to trail off, as she tried to revisit the lady’s face from her past. A woman not exactly beautiful, but somehow breathtaking. Someone she wanted to be close to, to hold her and tell her everything would be all right.
Her vision regained consciousness of the moment. Marguerite was expecting some sort of answer, but Drucilla hadn’t been listening. Marguerite’s clipboard held firmly into her chest, the veins in her hands pulsating up through her wrists, disappearing into her forearms. Marguerite walked off. Drucilla sat in the dressing room and gently fingered the groves of the red lid to the peanut butter.
Marguerite returned with a tall slim woman with tattoos poking out of both shoulder blades. The woman smiled at Drucilla and in that instant, Drucilla returned the gaze.
“This is Lesley, she is taking you home”, Marguerite said. Drucilla could tell Marguerite was exasperated. She may have black holes of memory loss but she still understood human emotion. “Katherine will call you in the morning. I suggest you try to get some sleep…without any aides.”
In the car, Lesley kept turning to look at Drucilla.
“Parla Italiano?” Lesley asked. Her lips spread widely and a sea of straight white teeth smiled Drucilla’s way.
Drucilla shook her head.
“I just figured you ought to be fluent in it, you know, since you sing Italian opera so well, like amazingly well, so well. I’m kinda a fan, if I’m being honest.”
Someone at the theatre must have given out Drucilla’s address. Lesley never once asked for a zip code and yet her satellite navigation is heading them towards home.
“Katherine says you grew up in Berlin?”
We suspect there is a specific area of the hippocampus. We’ll need to do more tests.
“How come you ended up here? I saw you sing, on Broadway, about two years ago.”
Drucilla noticed the tone of Lesley’s arms. No protruding veins like Marguerite.
“I don’t think Jackie has anything on you. Everyone has bad patches. Katherine will see that. Most understudies know they’re unlikely to get the part.”
Lesley had said so much that Drucilla’s mind didn’t know where to start. She looked at her phone. It was nearly ten. The summer twilight eaten away. Clouds covered the stars she wished to see.
Lesley turned off her car engine. “I’m under clear instructions to see you to the door.”
The night air had thickened with cool damp mist and Lesley’s nipples were visible through her top. Drucilla wondered what would happen if she took Lesley into her apartment. If the place would be free of flatmates. She was sure the lovebirds said they would be away this weekend.
In people suffering from amnesia, the ability to recall immediate information is still retained.
The old elevator fit two slender people in snugly. The intensity of Lesley’s proximity to Drucilla forced her to apologise.
“…for being so quiet.”
“Sorry for bombarding you with questions.”
“I’m just not in the mindset to talk.”
“You can sing to me instead, if you like?” Lesley smiled that smile again. A smile to be found in a dental textbook.