IMAGINARY AUDIENCE

When I was twelve
I went to the theater
To see Romeo and Juliet
I cried through entire second act
I held my heart
At the beautiful parts
And couldn’t help but gasp when the colors of the lights
Were impeccably right

I felt guilty for my loose tears
Silly for my mushy heart
And lucky to be sitting in the dark

The same year
I sat in church
Pushing my hair behind my ears
In front of my ears
And back again
Surely the entire congregation was fixated on the poofyness of my hair
And were deeply entranced by my twelve-year-old beauty
I was convinced

After church, my mother informed me
That I had a problem she likes to call “imaginary audience”
Meaning that everyone else is too concerned with their own poofy bangs
To care about what my hair looks like
Or if my overalls are dumb
(They were)

Now that I am older
I weep openly at the movies
Wipe my snot on my shirt
Hiccup-cry into the diet coke straw

I’m not sure who is watching, or who cares
But I feel
Unashamed of my tears
Grateful for my sensitivity
And lucky for my mushy heart

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