Michela Walters’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: The Weight of Fame
I stood upstage, waiting for the light to appear through the fog, my cue to start the opening riff of our headlining song. Standing here, trying not to cough from the man-made smoke, I waited like I did every night. I was so tired of the monotony of our perpetual concert touring schedule. Same show, a different town, a different crowd, yet it all felt like horrible case of deja vu. Nothing changed aside from venue. The song list, the green room demands and the never ending stream of ladies wanting to be with me, or another guy in the band. I went to bed each night with my name being screamed out by the bevy of beauties at my disposal, ringing in my ears. All I needed to do was flick my finger at one of them, and they would be on their knees ready and willing to do my bidding. And it was completely exhausting. It was draining to be surrounded by adoring fans when there was only one person who I desperately wanted beside me, and she wasn’t there. And it wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own.
My loneliness weighed down my heart, my bones, making it feel like I was dragging around a boulder. I missed home even though I was barely able to remember what that was. I hadn’t had a physical location to call my own in over two years. Not since our first single hit it big, and eventually our band became a globally recognizable name. That was when the tour started and when I’d left the one person who actually loved me enough to let me go and follow my dreams.
Back then, we’d opened for bands that toured around our midwest town or sang in small dumpy divebars with our head in the clouds, imagining a day when someone would discover us. A viral video of us opening for the Black Keys helped us start headlining our own gigs. Now we sold out arenas and football stadiums. Most nights I barely got a glimpse of anyone past the first four rows. Deafening screams singing lyrics I could barely remember, sang back to us. We had it all. A Grammy that was shoved deep in a bag in a storage locker told me so. But what exactly did I have?
Sure, my band mates were like brothers to me. We’d started our garage band when we were still in high school, playing at friends’ graduation parties, and then we all ended up playing the college club scene, struggling to keep up our grades while still pursuing our dream of making it big one day.
And when that day finally arrived, we certainly weren’t prepared for it. The money, the drugs, the over-adorning fans not to mention the pressure our record company was putting on us to repeat our debut album’s success. The sad thing was, if you’d asked me ten years ago what I wanted to be, I would have said a famous rock and roll singer. Now that the dream had actually come true, I really wish it hadn’t. I missed the simplicity of making music for the sake of making music. Not caring if anyone other than the three of our band mates liked it or not. Sure, we enjoyed when the crowds at the small pubs liked our music, but ultimately the creative direction was all our own. Now there were executives, producers and a wealth of other people to make happy. We were popular enough to bring in money, but not successful enough to tell all those honchos exactly what they could do with their opinion.
But that wasn’t even the worst part. I’d let Mary slip through my fingers. She’d told me to go when Los Angeles came knocking, saying if things didn’t work out, she’d still be here. The problem was that we had all of our dreams come true, and I’d let that success go to my head. I let myself think that I was too big to go back home. No, not home, but too big for sweet, innocent Mary.
The light flashed up, cueing me to begin my song. Stepping out from the darkness, my fingers unconsciously began playing and I once again stepped onto the treadmill of fame, hoping one day to get off and back to my Mary.
If she was still waiting.
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Michela Walters is a wife, mother and book enthusiast. She is currently attempting her hand at writing her first romantic fiction novella. You can read her other stories on her blog: michelawalters.wordpress.com