Red Velvet Lies

by Norah Deay


The car stops at the edge of the red carpet and I wait for the driver to get out and walk around to the other side to open my door. As soon as I thrust one well-shaped foot encased in a brilliant red stiletto out the door, the lights start flashing. I follow the foot, head up and a smile already in place as I exit the car. With the cameras behind me I stroll along the carpet, nodding and smiling to my fans, signing autographs where I can. I DO like them, most of the time. Where would I be without them after all? And a little voice whispers reading a story to your daughter.


My face is aching a bit, I relax the smile and use my eyes to communicate my absolute delight to be at this gathering of industry greats. If I can’t act like I’m the happiest woman in the room, I should give back the Oscar. A hand on my arm stops my progress and I look into the kind eyes of the First Lady.


“How’s that darling child of yours?” the grandmother asks and my smile is genuine as I recount Frankie’s latest spectacular achievement. She whispers to me that I can make my escape any time I feel like it and I want to hug her. Unfortunately, my agent is the next person I see and she’s going to make darn sure I’m here till the bitter end.


Who said we could have it all?  I feel as if I have none of it. The glittering career, with its constant demands feels empty without my baby and when I’m with her I’m torn with guilt that I’m not performing for the people who have made me successful.


Hour after hour I smile and nod and converse with people I like, people I loathe, and people I respect immensely. And, then, the room begins to empty and I drag my weary body back to the red carpet and walk through the diehards who still wait to see their idols. The car is waiting and I wave the driver back as he makes to get out. I collapse into the seat and let the smile slip from my face. The muscles around my mouth ache. Home now. Until the next time.