The Tango

Jeannette Stacey  |  2 min read


 You step on stage for the first time in years, and the first time that you know, looking back, you will clearly remember, and your heart begins to pound. Fear shakes you to your core and whatever lines you learned are lost as you become aware of the fact that if you have ever acted before now, it has not really counted, and that this moment is currently the only one that matters. There have been others in your life that, comparatively, were far more important, but when the tango begins to play you forget them all. You forget your name. For the next hour and forty five minutes, approximately, your name is that of someone else. You are no longer you, you are Chris Gorman. The subject changes.

Chris paces behind the couch in a desperate and hectic flurry; the tango plays, she pays it no mind. Looking back, I find it strange that she never turned around to search for the source of the sound. You certainly would have; what makes her different? She’ll never know, and you’re too focused on the fear that’s coursing through you (How fitting it is that you and she feel the same emotion by such coincidence!) to ever find out. I suppose then, it’s up to me.

The obvious reason is that she is a work of fiction written for entertainment and not documentary purposes. She is no sculpture of the human condition and reaction, but instead a cartoonist’s masterful yet hyperbolic rendering.  By now the liquor is grasped firmly in her hand, where it will stay for the rest of the night, and she has begun to cast herself in her role of the comic drunk.  

You, on the other hand, have made the first mistakes of the night and begun to rattle yourself further. It will take a trip backstage and a visit with your friends to ease your fears, but you know your entrances and exits well, and you have quite a while to wait. I consider the two of you parallel in a curious manner- she nervous that the bloodied host upstairs will be discovered, and you that your next lines will emerge as unintelligible gibberish, as they are wont to do on one’s first opening night that counts.