She opened her eyes.
Found herself all alone on a big stage.
Uncountable pairs of eyes looking straight at her.
A sea of white eyeballs.
All she could hear was her heart, beating like a hammer.
Du-dunk. Du-dunk. Du-dunk.
She didn't know what they were waiting for her to do, she just knew she needed to do something.
Dead quiet. Sea of eyeballs. Du-dunk.
Sweat ran down her forehead. She searched for something to say but couldn't find anything. Clenched her fists and realized she was holding a piece of paper.
She looked at it. Words, some kind of poem.
That must be why she was there.
I can't read this, she thought in panic. This is shit.
But she didn't have any other option.
She cleared her throat, held up the paper with trembling hands and started to read. Her voice echoed out over the eyeballs.
My heart, so small, a longing, so strong.
A dream, so futile, a goal, so fierce.
Is it a fantasy, or a certainty?
A snicker made her stop. She looked out, tried to see who it was. The eyeballs looked the same, white, big. For a second everything was quiet and then the whole room was overcome by a rumble. The laughing started to the left, swept through the back and came towards her like a wave, splashing over her, beating her down.
The eyeballs now had wide, red mouths with pointy teeth, and they screamed with laughter. Through the laughter came words, shouting of course it's a fantasy, stupid!
She felt panic taking over her and all she could think was to keep reading. With the paper close to her, she raised her voice again, tried to get heard.
If it's a fantasy, I'd rather live there.
Where hope is noble, where the naive is brave.
The laughter died out but the eyeballs had now turned away from her. They chattered and yawned and started to leave. Desperately, she continued to scream out her words.
In the land of the dreamers, there I will dwell.
For I will never wake up, for as long as I may.
The last one left the room and she was now all alone. Nobody had stayed to hear the last words on her paper. Nobody cared about what she had to say.
Her voice shrunk to a whisper.
My heart is small and my dream is futile.
Still my goal is fierce and my longing strong.
It will carry me on, it will carry me on.
She fell to her knees with the poem in her hands and she knew then that this had been her only chance. This was the one stage she would ever enter and now it was over. She had been living in the land of the dreamers but now the real world had woken her up.
There was no point in going on.
She had failed.
And then she woke up.
With a gasp she sat up, felt the bed around her and saw the morning light peering in through the curtains. She was home and the stage had only been a dream. A horrible, horrible dream.
With a blanket round her shoulders, she stumbled after a piece of paper. Scribbled down what she could remember of the poem.
She knew that is was true then, that it would carry her on. Even if it meant people would laugh or not care. Even if it meant failure. She would keep sharing her truth with the world, whatever the reception.
For what she felt sitting there with pen and paper in the morning light.
It made it all worth it, nightmare or not.