Audience

Nina was watching the play. Tim was watching her.

The voices from the stage were blaring now, crashing and sweeping. Her eyes were wide, the lashes standing out and the tears glistening, ready to tumble and spill over. She was always quick to cry. Now her lips parted, and she nearly gasped. Tim sat back, and folded his arms over his chest. The action must have caught her eye, and she sank too against the cushion of her seat. Her mouth clenched closed.

Onstage, the actors had quieted, and their far-off voices were earnest now. Nina seemed unable to stop herself – she leaned forward, and her mouth dropped open. Her hands rose to curl beneath her chin, and she pulled her shoulders up around her ears. He could almost feel her shaking, she was listening so intently. He bent to her, and put a hand on her sleeve. She flicked an impatient hand at him, brushing against his arm, and he retreated.

Her eyebrows jumped and lowered with the rise and fall of the voices. Her eyes danced, bobbed and dipped over the stage, and she curled into half a smile. Tim settled back again in his seat, his jaw tight.

Her face moved and her eyes flared wide and then the applause burst over them like a clattering cascade and she was caught up in it, standing and clapping so hard he thought her hands might have blurred. He stayed sitting, watching her, and the spotlights caught and glared into his eyes until tears flooded into his eyes.

They left and he tucked her hand into his arm, pulled her close. He said, “I liked that.” She nodded. Her eyes were still fixed, faraway and dreamy, and she stared into the distance in the darkness all the way home.

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