a port and lemon dear, please
The familiar butterflies arrive, a cocktail of anticipation laced with trepidation; crushed ice along my spine. The darkness calms me, but only slightly. I squeeze my eyelids together, chin up; whisper my usual prayer. Saying those first words, I rock slowly backwards and forwards on my heels. There is activity around me, but no-one speaks. I am ignored, which is my preference. I take deep breaths, shuffle my feet and following a tap on my shoulder, I tweak the waist band of my skirt and tug down my right knicker leg. As soon as I feel the smack on my bum, I march out into the light. Blinking rapidly helps me focus and when I hear the laughter and applause, the ice melts and my heart warms. I bow and wave, lap up the cheers; I am at home in the brightness; I feel the warmth. More blinking to flutter my lashes and coyly turn towards the spotlight. Full of adrenaline I scurry across the stage.
‘Now then Jack, when are you going to take that cow to market?’