Gala of the Arts {Short Story}

"Greetings all!" I say to the mirror, enthusiastic and with as much charisma as I could muster.

A bewildered expression is its answer.

"Honey I brought your -"

"Babe!" I stomp my foot, that felt good. "I'm no good at it! They'll hate me!"

His smile brightened my day. "Come on, hon. Do it again."

I take a deep breath, right leg back, left hand forward, and - "Greetings all!"

He bursts out laughing.


Babe comes over and gives me a hug. "I laugh because you are so funny when you try to act like somebody else. Honey, just be yourself. You are the most charming person in the world, don't try to fake it."

"I'm not trying to fake it!" My voice is muffled in his sweater. I sigh. Hug him back. "But thank you..."

Babe kisses my head. "You'll do great. Now! I brought your cane! Look how pretty it is."

It really was pretty. "I hate it!" I say.



He chuckles. "You'll do great, honey. They chose you to announce this event for a reason." He caresses my cheek. "If only you could see yourself as the rest of the world does."

"Thank you, baby..." He's right. I can do this! I just have to be myself... but what does that even mean? As soon as the frustration lifted, it returned.

I said as much to my baby. "You're just anxious. Come on, let's go over your introduction again..."

Before I knew it night had fallen. The gala doors opened and the lights shone brighter than the full moon. I was on the show floor, welcoming guests and being my usual charming self. Underneath my smiling, calm facade, a tempest roared.

I got this, I got this, I got this.

"Mrs. Johnson!" The head of the manifestation approached. He was an old man, well respected in his circles. He was going out on a limb inviting an unproven product such as myself. "I trust all is well?"

"Yes, Mr. Beesberry." *I got this, I got this, I got this. "And thank you for this opportunity."

He leaned in conspiratorially. "I am putting a lot of trust in you. Don't mess up! Or we'll both look like fools."

Thanks for the vote of confidence you old geezer. But I said. "I won't, Mr. Beesberry. Thank you again."

He nodded as if he had just saved my life. I already didn't like him. I almost sighed as he left but held myself back. My baby was stuffing his face with food in the cafeteria. I waved. The fool was too focused on eating to see me. Fine! I'll show him later...

I got this, I got this, I got this.

The butterflies in my tummy only multiplied as the guests kept piling on. How many were there? Over two hundred. Yes, I knew the number! Actually seeing them, however...

An aide tugged me on my sleeve. "Mrs. Johnson, it is time."

I let myself exhale a pent-up breath. "Right."

As the podium loomed I realized one frightening fact - I had forgotten all my lines! The grin on my face must've looked inviting to the many pretentious snobs around me. But they had no idea how close to hysterical that grin actually was.

I don't got this, I don't got this, I don't got this.

The aide checked the microphone, and the stand, and then waved for me to approach. I nodded in thanks as I got on the makeshift stage.

My mouth felt so dry. I could feel my hands sweating! Yuk, yuk, yuk! I tried looking for my baby but he was nowhere to be seen! So much for that moral support, he was touting back home! Probably stuffing his face still.

I found myself standing before two hundred eyes, all expecting something. Oh...

A woman in the middle row of tables tripped and fell, spilling the contents of their table onto the mosaic floor.

"Are you alright?" I asked into the microphone with genuine concern.

Most people turned to see what the commotion was about and I found my baby standing in the back. He just smiled and gave me a thumbs-up.

Just be yourself!

"Can we please check on the madam if she's alright?" Murmurs of agreement swept past the first row of tables. She laughed and waved the attendants away. She seemed unaffected. Good.

"I know we are all excited!" I heard myself saying. I didn't fight myself. Yes, what was I worried about? I was amazing!

I got this!

I felt my body to the perfect introductory bow. Left leg slightly back, right hand extended with a flourish.

"Ladies and gentlemen! Greetings to the first annual Gala of the Arts!"

The crowd erupted in applause.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you are having a great weekend! 😘

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