Sometimes fame is not all it's made out to be. A story of 850 words.
At a glance it seemed that Miranda had everything. She sang, she got noticed and suddenly she was thrust in to the spotlight. Thousands of adoring fans followed her on social media and through the press. Her outfits were copied, as were her hair, her make-up; so many people wanted to be just like her.
And yet she ran.
If pushed, Miranda would perhaps have tried to explain. Her life was no longer her own. She was told what to wear, how to look; even her songs were no longer her own, for she would be told what to write or worse, be given other people’s songs to sing.
Her family were over the moon, carried away by her spectacular success. Miranda tried to explain to them how she felt, that the person she saw was no longer herself; they simply could not or would not understand. She withdrew from them, had barely any contact with them, although she still sent them cash – after all, that seemed to be what they saw as important.
One day she simply had enough. She walked out of the studio with nothing more than the clothes on her back. No money, no possessions, no form of identification.
Miranda knew where the rough parts of the city were. She would be safe there, for no one would ever think to search in these parts. She was right, but there were other hazards, other problems.
“Hey, Gorgeous, come on over here.”
“We’ll show you how to have a good time.”
“Hey, girl, you need a real man...”
As the hour grew late and the people on the street changed, it was a situation that only got worse. She was propositioned, man-handled, groped and kissed, and Miranda did not dare to cry out for help. She kicked and struggled and, once free, she ran, pulling her jacket closed tightly around her body and her hood way forward to cover her face.
With no money at all she had no option but to walk. This Miranda did, for hours, but she’d never be able to get far enough away from the city on foot. She dare not hitch a ride. It had been bad enough being groped on the street; there was no way she’d get into a vehicle with a strange guy.
Miranda kept going. She’d head for the mountains, the forests; maybe there she’d feel better.
A woman pulled over in a modest saloon car, two teenage girls in the back.
“Come on in and we’ll give you a ride. It’s not safe out walking for a girl like you.”
How could she refuse? Besides her feet, her entire legs ached like never before. She’d never make it alone. The woman insisted on making conversation, and as much as she did not want to, Miranda felt forced in to making small-talk. She sensed when the girls began to whisper, saw when one of them lean forward to whisper in the woman’s ear.
The woman took a few glances toward the passenger seat, then, as the road was clear, looked longer. Miranda dared not meet her eyes; she knew if she did she would see recognition.
“Hey, you know, you’re the spitting image of that girl that’s gone missing. The singer..What was her name, Shel?”
“Miranda,” her daughter said from the back seat.
What could she do? She could hardly demand to be let out in the middle of nowhere; that would be a total giveaway. Somehow she’d have to bluff her way to the next town. She forced herself to laugh, give a small smile. “I’ve been told that before,” she said, trying to disguise her voice. “But no. I wish...”
The lie seemed to have convinced them, or at least made them have some doubts. When she climbed out of the car in the next town, the girls had stared at her, turning to face the back of their seats as she hurried the opposite way. She heard the car begin to pull away then stop. Miranda hurried down a side-road, then another and another. Finally too tired to go on, she sat beside a group of bins that were over-flowing with rubbish and closed her eyes.
Miranda had not slept for long. The streets began to wake up, and she knew it was time to move on. There were mountains in the distance, the dark smudge of a forest. It would be foolish to go back to the highway for they could have phoned in a sighting. No doubt there was a pretty hefty reward for information regarding her whereabouts.
What would they have said, the management team, the PR? No doubt they had concocted some story about a mental breakdown. Perhaps that really was not so far from the truth. But she did not want their treatment; their sessions and their pills. Miranda knew what she wanted and that was nothing more than the return to herself.
Maybe away from the spotlight, away from the fame and the pressure, she would have a slight chance of rediscovering the girl she used to be.