I’ve always admired the pathetic and shunned, especially when they’re famous. Twenty years ago, when I was a teenager, Kelly Houston was loved by everyone, except me. ‘Isn’t she just so normal?’ ‘Oh, what a voice!’ ‘She’s just gorgeous!’ God, I despised her.
But then came a career-shattering scandal; leaked voicemails that tore her veneer of normalcy to shreds. I watched her fall from grace with indescribable pleasure. But as her true hideousness began to repel the majority of the public, it attracted me.
She became an obsession of mine; when she was occasionally seen, she had become uglier and fatter and I loved her all the more for it. Her music was laughed at and then entirely forgotten. But not by me; I couldn’t go a day without hearing her beautiful yet tragic voice.
But fortunes are constantly changing and two years ago, her song was used on a popular TV show, bringing her back into the consciousness. Trendy artists began declaring her one of their favourite singers; the scandal was now a distant memory, but her music remained.
Then she announced her first concert in twenty years and I immediately bought tickets.
The theatre was small but I was still shocked by how packed it was; though her popularity had been increasing, I hadn’t expected such a large crowd. Their inane chitter-chatter began to infuriate me.
The curtain opened and she walked into the overpowering light; her entire being glowed, transforming her into an angel. She had lost weight and the blemishes that previously covered her skin were gone. She smiled, revealing her perfectly capped teeth. The crowd went wild, but my heart sank; I felt my love fading and twenty years of devotion wasted.
But as she moved back and forth, swaying to the music, her foot became tangled in the thick curtain. Perhaps overtaken by the moment, she didn’t notice until she tripped, flying across the stage. There was a loud smack as her face hit the solid wood. She screamed and as she looked up her teeth were broken and her mouth bloody. Her tears smudged her makeup and the lights highlighted the bloody scene to perfection.
The crowd went silent, then some laughed, some booed, some seemed concerned. As for me, I couldn’t help but smile. She was mine again.
by James Hunter
(prompts: Curtain, Light, ‘Have you seen a fallen star?’- Neil Gaiman, Stardust.)