How I Overcame Stage Fright

by Angela Carlton

My sister went to detox again, the day of my audition. After years of warming up behind mirrors, singing to CDs in traffic and winning karaoke with a bit of cash in my pocket, I’d finally worked up the courage for the annual radio contest. As the poison leaked from my sister’s brain from an overdose of lithium, as they strapped her down in restraints, avoiding her screams, inserting her with needles, I sang. I sang from the heavy place, that worn to the last joyless bone, terrified place, and sang as the sweat formed around my temples, sang as the pain of realizing you’ve lost someone while they're still alive erupted. On that small dark stage in my hometown, I let go. And someone listened.

6S

Angela Carlton's fiction has appeared in Fiction at Work, Camroc Press Review, Burst, Every Day Fiction, Long Story Short, Pedestal Magazine, Pindeldyboz, Storyglossia and elsewhere. She won the Reader's Choice Award in 2006 with Pedestal Magazine.