“You were great,” they told me. The passengers congratulated me on the cruise ship for several nights when they passed me by. I say nights because during the day, nobody recognized me in my sun tanning garb, complete with large sunglasses and my red hair all tucked inside a baseball cap.
We had gone to see an illusionist/juggler show one evening on the ship. Because we got there only mere moments before the show began and we needed four seats together, all that was available were four seats in the very front row. We all know what happens to folks in the front row, hence they were empty.
David (a.k.a. The Checkerboard Guy) needed an assistant, and tag, I was it. I cringed with overwhelming stage fright when I was chosen to be his assistant for a trick. I tried hard to decline but David was relentless and the spotlight on me just made it more embarrassing for me to decline rather than just get up on stage. So I sucked it up and got on with the show.
As I approached the stage my paranoia set in, wondering if hundreds of people could see up my sundress from a stage that towered over the lower section of the theater. I also wondered whether or not all those lights overhead had made my dress transparent.
I was so nervous while David made his jokes and instructed me to catch one of the seven balls he was juggling at a random moment. I was also instructed to then throw it right back to him while he maintained his rhythm of juggling. I stood there entranced by the audience’s intense scrutinizing while this all took place. And then suddenly, while I was unprepared in my gaze, David threw the ball to me and I dropped it. In that moment I was reminded of just how much I sucked at sports, yet the audience loved it. He tried throwing it again to me and alas, I caught it.
After I descended the stage back to my seat, escorted by David, he wouldn’t let me sit down until I kissed him on the cheek. By that time I was wise to his antics. I hesitated and felt myself looking like a deer in headlights as I contemplated if there was more to his command. I decided that I should just get it over with and as I bent to kiss his cheek, he turned it quickly so that my lips would land upon his. I was quick on the draw that time as I backed off instantly. The audience loved it and applauded once again.
Although my embarrassing stage fright never seemed to lessen I really did have a lot of fun. After the show as we walked out of the theater to the bar, there must have been at least twenty or thirty passengers who stopped to congratulate me for my performance and subsequently, many more for several nights that followed. My fifteen minutes of fame seemed to last much longer and although I’d have no desire to do it again, it was a blast.