Words - Cicisbeo Tourbillon Chateau
As she walked towards the microphone a hushed silence fell over the room. The bald man in the third row stopped shaking his leg; bringing to an end the ‘shk shk shk’ sound his polyester trousers made as one synthetic leg rubbed against the other. She could see her mother sitting right up front, lips moving as silent prayers invoking His thousand names and meant only for His ears escaped in to the universe. The Chinese (or was he Korean) boy Kim walked past her grinning. Chateau? Please. A five year old could take that. Standards had dropped since last year. Last year. That had been something. Tourbillon. Now there was a word. Her word. The applause had been deafening. The interviews never ending. Champion. C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N. Champion.
She stood at the microphone now. Arms behind her back, tightly clasped, fingers digging in to the skin. Painfully. To remind her what losing would feel like her mother had said. What would that feel like she wondered?
The word furrowed deep in to her brain where its meaning resided. She realised she did not know. What failure felt like. Was it like the thudding, dirt hitting low that accompanies the inevitable descent on a see-saw. If success was in her hands so was failure.
“Could you use it in a sentence please?”
As the thin faced woman prattled out some inanity, she looked out at the audience. Her mother’s eyes were screwed shut, her lips moving faster
‘amaanee maanado maanyo lokasvaamee trilokadhrik
sumedhaa medhajo dhanyah satyamedhah dharaadharah’
‘C-I-C-I-S-B-E-O.’ she thought to herself.
Getting this right meant another day of necromorphous, acephalous and drapetomania. She wondered what was on television at 12:45 on Tuesday afternoons.
She cleared her throat.
Maybe they’d have Tom & Jerry on.
The wail from the front row drowned out her final, triumphant Cicisbeo.