Character Shoes

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Click, clack, click clack. I was running down the stairs outside of my high school auditorium. The sound of my character shoes made things more official, and it gave me confidence. I ran down to my mother’s car, and when I saw my Dad in the driver’s seat, I was confused; he was supposed to be at work. I stopped in front of the car giving him that look dogs do when they get confused. “What are you doing home?” I asked. “We found out today Mom has breast cancer”. My Dad patted me on the leg and continued to drive off. For the five minute car ride home, I sat in silence. I was numb.
A sophomore, I was in my first play Thoroughly Modern Millie. I got a small part as a Priscilla Girl, and I sang a song with five other girls and spoke one line. My Mom didn’t want me to give up on it, but she had to be on medicine that didn’t allow her to drive. My Dad works nights, so I had to rely on my aunt and friends to bring me to practice, and rely on myself to take care of myself, to make dinner, find rides, and clean the house. Play practice was my escape and distraction from my new reality. I didn’t have to be the kid whose mom had cancer. People didn’t treat me like charity there. I was like all the other kids. Our practices were about three or more hours, and during that time, I didn’t have to worry about my Mom. I had to remember my dance steps, Step touch, step touch, kick ball change, or lyrics to a song.
When my Mom was undergoing surgery, I wouldn’t be able to focus. I had to have my phone attached to me, waiting for that one text from my Dad telling me the surgery was done, and that my Mom was doing fine. One day my Mom’s surgery was being done during play practice, and we were not allowed to have our phones onstage. The scene we were blocking that day was supposed to be a party scene. Even though I was panicking inside, I had to act as if I was happy and having a great time.
Click, clack, click clack. I walked out on stage behind the curtain. It was the last day of our performances and my family was coming. I was uncertain if my Mom would be there or not because she had started her first chemo treatment two weeks earlier; I had stage fright for the very first time. It was my cue to run on stage, click, clack, click clack. I looked out to the second row to search for my family. I saw the glare of someone’s glasses, sitting in the second row. That night my character shoes did not give me confidence, it was seeing my Mom in the audience





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