Mrs. Radcliff’s lips curled in amusement. “I have a little test of my own. You see, the real test is with the audience. When we see plays, Harold studies the performers, while I … I study the audience. You had them, in both plays. You captivated, controlled. You became the characters, understood how to shape the lines. You just need to be bolder and bring out that inner …”—she waved her hand around as she searched for the right word—“stuff.”
Vita raised her eyes to the quote again. “The dream stuff?”
“Yes. The illusion. The beauty. The connection.” Her piercing gaze landed on Vita. “Without which, life would be unbearable.”
A deep, dark door flung open inside Vita. Her murky feelings and nebulous thoughts about dreams and quests and beauty lay spread before her in startling, troubling clarity. To her conscious mind, for the first time, rose the awareness that on the other side of the dream, was the unbearable.
Vita felt exposed, her dark desperation laid bare. Mercifully, Daphne didn’t linger in such depths, but smoothed her floral dress, tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear, and offered a tender smile. They were back on the surface, safe, manageable. Where the tangible resided. The things Vita could get her hands into.
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