Authors: Elisa Jackson
The stage lights blind my eyes, the sounds of my own name echoes in my ears, creating a symphony of my senses. It seems that by now I should have gotten used to hearing my name screamed in thousands voices, yet I feel my breath trapped in my lungs every time I hear the adoration, hope, expectation, and desire coming from those thousands voices. The sound gets atmospheric, bigger than the stadium, bigger than me and all of us.
I can feel the love.
I can feel the expectation.
I have to bear those expectations. It is a daunting thing.
The drum intro starts. It beats through me – matching my heartbeat - making me a part of the energy spreading through the stadium. This is one of the best experiences a musician ever has – the moments before getting onto the stage: the intro, the conquering of thousands of hearts that start beating as one, sharing this moment.
Right now, the drumming is the only heartbeat I have, the only signal that I’m even here – otherwise I’d be flying.
Every time I stand backstage and wait for the right beat to call me on stage, I feel like the same seventeenyearold who believed in her dream, who believed that music is the only thing to unite thousands of hearts, causing them to breathe and sing together. I feel the same worry as I did more than eight years ago. I almost want to run away and hide in a dark corner, but I can feel the wave of my own music wash over me, reach for my heart, wrap around it and at that very moment I become the most powerful of the voices. My screams can reach for the stars and cross oceans.
I am the music.
I am the voice.
There are only seconds until I get on the stage. My hands are shaking. Then I see Jay looking at me with the smile he knows can give me endless powers. He has always been there standing next to me, holding my hand and guiding my voice with his guitar riffs. We are one – one soul, one voice, one melody.
I feel the vibe calling for me. I close my eyes and walk onto the stage. There is no anxiety, no worry, no concern, and no fear – I have swallowed all of it, burned it inside of me, and turned it all into the music. I sing out and the stadium of thousands of fans immediately bursts into applause.
DaYa! DaYa! DaYaaa!
Their voices fill me. And in return I give all of me to them – all my energy, all my passion, and all of my love. I can feel the warmth of Jay’s body inches away from mine. He keeps close during this first song – it is an important one for us – our first creation, which has become our greatest hit. It gave us wings to fly, it linked our hearts, it made us one. I know that unison is slipping away now, but I should not think about it – I have no right to do so. I can’t be selfish on the stage. All I should do is give to my fans everything I have.
And I sing.
With all of the power of the voice I have inside of me, I sing. The lyrics that we have written years ago talk to me through my own voice like a prophecy:
I am the feather of your wing,
I am the will moving your hand,
Look at me as you sing,
Together we must stand…
I feel tears running down my face as I sing. I do not hold back any bit of me – I sing from my heart and mirroring my emotions my fans embrace the energy of my song. We all breathe as one.
If you ask me what music is – I believe I could say it is a huge bird, which can enfold thousands of people inside of its powerful wings and take them to an endless flight in the skies. This moment we all share will always be a part of us – uniting every one of those thousands of fans who have attended this concert, who have given a part of their hearts to everyone around them.
I never feel this fulfilled and complete out of stage. I am happy with my life, true. I am twenty-five now, I started this band with Jay at the age of seventeen and right now we are riding at the top of a mind-blowing wave of success. I am the wave, I am the stride, I am the waterfall, and I am the storm.
Once I step out of the stage, I’ll feel like that little girl again. The one, who needed someone – anyone - to believe in her. Jay came around and claimed to be that one. It was years ago. I trusted him then. That was the day when “DaYa the Rock Star” was born. I wasn’t myself anymore on the stage – I was the star who was loved and worshiped.
I loved it.
I love it now, as I feel the heavy stare of thousand pairs of eyes.
As I finish the song, I turn and smile at Jay. He avoids my eyes. For all these years, music and Jay have never been separated from my life. I believed those two were omnipresent and omnipotent. I was sure they had become a part of me part of my own body.
Could I breathe without my nose? Similarly – I could not breathe without music and without Jay. I couldn’t walk without my legs and I could not see without my eyes. Jay and music were my eyes and legs. I couldn’t live without them.
Yet now, the realization hit me that the day when I will be left without my eyes, nose, and legs was near. Before the start of the gig, Jay told me that he was considering leaving the band and me. He was calm and relaxed. He talked as if he was leaving for an hour, as if he wasn’t speaking about a massive destruction which could swipe away the whole world in a blink of an eye.
“I am DaYa. I am a star,” I keep telling myself as I sing. I can feel waves of desperation invading my voice. Maybe that’s what is going to make this concert unforgettable. Maybe tonight our fans cheer particularly fondly for me because they can sense the fear and at the same time, the hope, in my voice.
I hope. I really do. I look at Jay every time hoping to find that sparkle in his eyes which sets my whole existence on fire. I hope to find the reassurance that he will never leave me. But as I keep on singing, I feel the last drops of hope deserting me.
My hope is a lonely bird
Flying away with burning feathers
Dropping down flames
Burning the seas below.
I sing with the last bit of strength I have inside of my body. I look at Jay once again and I can see that his eyes are of the color of farewell. I feel my legs tremble, I make another step and eventually my body gives up. As I fall, I can hear the terror, I can feel the chill, I can see the end…
Then there is darkness and all the senses die.
Stumbling on her feet, Darya jumped out of the elevator, and hurried towards the conference hall. She may have been the only woman that the luxurious walls of the hotel had seen running barefoot while she held her shiny red killer heels in her hands. She couldn’t deny it caused her endless joy to be that one woman, to buck the tradition. After all, someone had to challenge the pampered rules of extravagant glamorous lifestyle the visitors of such hotels were living.
She saw Kiara waiting for her in the lobby. Her assistant hurried to meet her with a look that few assistants dared to hold against their employers, but that was one of many reasons why Kiara was given the position in the first place. Darya loved strong women who dared to challenge her, even though often she tended to regret that decision and hate her assistant more than ever.
“I know; I know…I’m late. I didn’t about the meeting, but I was delayed by something important at breakfast.” Darya knew some apologetic looks would hardly soften her assistant’s iron heart, but she had to try.
“And what was that, if I may ask? When I left you at the breakfast table 40 minutes ago, the only important company you were having was your morning chocolate croissant with nonalcoholic beer.” Kiara didn’t fail to roll her eyes every time she saw Darya’s favorite breakfast choice. Old habits die hard after all. Even if she had managed to survive the transition from a rock star to a business woman, she hadn’t yet grasped the whole philosophical meaning of drinking
“only coffee with no sugar and low calorie fruit salad with freshly squeezed green smoothie.”
“Well, I was thinking,” Darya said with a thoughtful face as she did her best to remember who she was supposed to be meeting right now at the conference.
,” Kiara corrected with an eye roll. Without further delay, she pushed the beautifully arranged folder into Darya’s hands and, in exchange, pulled her red heels out of her grip and helped her onto them.
The world immediately became several inches shorter and much more off a painful place to live for Darya. She sighed dramatically, but her only spectator did not seem to appreciate it.
They paused at the large, wooden doors of the conference hall. Darya didn’t really worry much – whatever was about to happen was at least going to be fun. Even if it was not, they had her – the always shiny and never predictable business women who pierced the planet Earth with her killer shoes. Nonetheless, Kiara felt obliged to make a few last-minute comments and reminders, which Darya hoped she would remember.
“Alright, so I have told them that you had an urgent business call from our IT department regarding the new development of our portal. Mr. Collins is a huge supporter of our project, I am sure with pulls on the right strings he will be ready to make a pretty good investment and offer some European expansion for us.”
“When did you manage to learn that?” Sometimes the geeky little woman did surprise her after all.
“Well, I had another coffee with him while we were waiting for our registration. We coffee addicts understand each other,” she laughed. With that, Kiara winked, took a deep breath, and led Darya inside the hall where her presentation was about to begin.
What she really loved about all of these uselessly formal events was the mingling and networking that was done on the stage – holding everyone’s attention, feeling the weight of many pairs of eyes directed to her in expectation.
Probably that was also a part of the reason why Darya loved messing up her presentations. She could spare a few minutes to cause some surprise that none of them expected. After all, their business lives were too tense and serious worrying about every minute and constantly counting how much each and every minute cost them, whether they won or lost another dollar while they blinked.
Luckily she didn’t have to worry about all of that. Primarily because she always had her geeky assistant to help her out. Additionally, even if this whole “playing a business person” show went to hell, Darya doubted she would even care for a blink. Financially she was secure and this was another cool game to entertain her and all.
Darya occasionally checked Kiara’s reactions as she spoke. Her assistant had not only put together all the slides for her presentation, but also placed tiny hints, which only Darya could understand and which helped her to remember all of the important details. Kiara’s small dark eyes were intent. She probably didn’t take a single breath since the presentation had started and wasn’t going to have any until it ended. She couldn’t lose any precious moment. She had to check for everyone’s reactions and make mental notes on all of them.
Mr. Collins coughed at the word sustainable, that was a good sign, probably he was interested in long-term collaboration, while Mrs. Nolan stirred uncomfortably twice, she was not a big fan of new technologies and didn’t understand the whole innovation of their enterprise; so on, so forth…
One thing Darya knew for sure was how to capture her audience. She was born to perform and this particular show was growing too boring. She had gone through all of her slides, made a five-star presentation and even earned her own personal assistant’s happy nod. It was time to go a bit eccentric and make some real
The next question served perfectly well for that purpose.
“Ms. Blake, thank you for your inspiring presentation, but I am wondering whether combining such a conservative industry like fashion and the rapidly growing new technologies would not cause imbalance and drive away your potential consumers?” asked a middle-aged business man in a boring gray suit. He didn’t introduce himself, which mean that Darya was probably supposed to know his name already.
From Kiara’s expression Darya could tell the man was a big shark.
Time to rock and roll, babe,”
thought Darya. With her blinding smile in place, she answered. “Well, of course, my dear mister… uhm…
. We are, I believe, pretty much breaking all of your hopes to keep the women ignorantly away from anything new technologies could offer. They should simply be happy with new nice clothes as long as the almighty men approve of it.” She beamed another shiny smile at the poor man, who uncomfortably stirred in his place. Kiara paled immediately.
So, that worked,”
Darya could see how the perfect impression of her presentation collapsed around Kiara as she granted a similarly pleasant answer to annoying Mrs. Nolan and dryly thanked the flattering compliment from Mr. Collins. She was done with flattering years ago and the sooner Kiara realized that, the better.