This may be one of the most nerve wracking days of your life.
The tech team hurries to finish their last minute fixes while the makeup crew bats at your face like you can’t feel it. You’re on in 10 seconds. You take deep breaths but they do nothing to calm your nerves. Then, the countdown starts and your stomach drops.
“Hello, and welcome back to Get To Know You!” A long sequence of applause follows as the host introduces herself. She’s all smiles and sparkles as she takes in the applause. You can tell she loves what she does, the glint in her eyes is bright even though the show has been running for almost 20 years. Your admiration for the host grows and nerves decrease. Not fully of course. You’re still anxious as fuck, she just makes you a tad bit more calm. You decide that you like her.
The applause stops and her sparkly eyes turn to look at you in favor for the audience. “We have our new guest, or our new Angel, if you would.” It’s not like you haven’t heard that one before. Still, you chuckle, you’re on national T.V. for fucks sake. Glancing back at the crowd, she continues, “Here to promote their newest album, Sleepover, Angel, how are you today? Tell us how you’ve been.” She stares expectantly at you. “I’ve been fine, yeah, good good.” And then she’s going on again, riling up the audience on who knows what about you but you can’t really focus on her. Instead, you wrack your mind on what to do with your hands. You really don’t know where to put them and you know you’re overthinking but your mind is going a mile a minute and you can not stop. Maybe you could put them on the chair rests? Your lap? But if you put them on your lap, would you intertwine them? Would that look too stiff? You’re so busy wrapped up in yourself that you don’t hear her next question for you. She’s staring at you with those eyes and, oh god, you’re so fucking dead.
You play it off with a quick ‘I’m sorry?’ as if you didn’t hear her and, no, your voice did not crack when you said it. Fuck no.
The host repeats herself with ease.
“Describe your title track for us, Angel. Our audience, and myself might I add, are very curious about it.” Oh. This you could do. You put your heart and soul into your work, if there’s anything you could talk comfortably about, it’s your music.
You start off with a smile, briefly describing that your track, Sleepover, is a song about the things of the past slipping away because you’re growing up so quick. Childlike things such as sleepovers are things of the past. It’s important to live in the now, but bringing back our small treasures, our sleepovers, is important too.
The audience gives a big round of cheers so you bow your head in thanks, throwing hand kisses towards all of them. Your tension is almost gone now, you know that your fans have your back. You’re not alone in this. The host starts up again.
“That’s an amazing message! We all deserve to keep our small happiness no matter how old we get, wouldn’t you all agree?” The crowd gives a yell of approval so you send even more kisses. You’re fine.
“So how does your track Whispers play into your theme of a sleepover?” The host asks as the crowd goes quiet, but this time, you’re ready.
“You can’t tell me that you’ve never been to a sleepover and had that ‘So, who do you like?’ talk. That’s pretty much what this song is. I think everyone is a bit nosey when it comes to that topic, honestly.”
“Well then let me be nosy, Angel!” she laughs. “So,” she begins. It looked like she was toying with this, with you, all along. Her smile stretches out across her face as she asks,
“Who exactly do you like?”
In a second. Just one. You slip into a state all too familiar. You’re back where you started. Your nerves are racing back and you want to do nothing else but shrink in your seat because-- you want to answer. You really want to say that the man who owns your heart is the most hard working man you know. Whose delicate and sweet and mean and grumpy and everything in between. You want to tell her how and when and why you like a man who most likely has no idea you exist. But you don’t. You can’t.
The silence that you know has dragged on far too long is making you seem like a fool. You’re making it obvious. Fuck.
“I-- I don’t! No. I don’t like anyone. People are nice but I don’t think--”
“Well, that sure sounds like a lie! Doesn’t it?” A roar. “That was one long silence you gave us, Angel.”
Then you remember. You know why this feels all too familiar. The sleepovers you had back in America were just the same. People pushing you to know information they didn't really need to know. This wasn't what sleepovers were about. Not at all.
“So you’re telling me you don’t like anyone? No one at all?” The crowd boos. You feel small. “Are you sure?” she keeps pressing it. You can’t keep this up. The crowd boos. You want to tell her. You don’t know her. You want to let it out. She’s looking at you with that smile. The crowd boos.
“I never said that…” escapes your mouth in a silent rush.
You’re not looking at her but you know that damned host is smiling at the crowd. You’re in deep but there’s no way to escape. You either play the game or you look like a coward.
“And what do you say, Angel?”
“I think…” You look up and try to scan the crowd but you meet a pair of eyes and feel yourself falter. You want this to be over so you do the impossible.
“I think… I enjoy him more than he knows.” There really is no going back now. You’re fucked. “The way he raps on stage gives me chills-- and I go to all of their shows-- but I’m sure he doesn’t know me at all. I want him too, though. I really do. He’s inspired me since day one. And he’ll keep doing it in the future, I just know it. He’s the moon, sun, and stars to me even though he’s just one…”
You didn't know your eyes had closed till you open them again and look up to find the crowd cooing at you. You feel so tired watching them now. You look at the host but her soft smile is gone, replaced with a wicked one that's been there the whole time. The sparkle in her eyes is gone too, but it seems like it was never really there. The stage lights are just so bright they have no choice to land in her eyes. The sparkles that surround her now are warning signs. She was never nice. She didn't really want to get to know you. She just wanted to benefit for herself. You're a fool.
You don’t hear her closing up the show and saying goodnight to the crowd. You don't hear when she speaks to you with that damned smile and you sure as hell don't say anything back.
You want to go home.