In My Own Dream

September 19, 2008
By Shannon Kelly, Lincoln, NE

“Francesca!” At the sound of my name, I threw down the tabloid in my hands. I simply couldn’t flip through a magazine or watch a commercial without my dreams screaming and flying out of control. A new movie would be advertised and the heroine would have her face all over town, her long shiny hair resting perfectly on her narrow shoulders. I could never have everything I wanted until I had my dream. Somewhere, deep inside me, I was sure I had been destined for fame.

My desire for stardom had not been a short-lived illness; rather, it was a plague- it had haunted me for as long as I could remember. My mother called once more from the other room, and so I answered and danced into the kitchen.

“It’s time for dinner. Could you get your father some ice water?”

“Can you get me a good agent?” My mother scowled- her usual response to what she saw as an ongoing joke. She rolled her eyes.

“Mom, I’m serious!” Her tongue made a little tsk noise and she continued setting out plates.

My mother irritated me very much sometimes. Not because she was mean or restricting or obnoxious… no. She was just the opposite. My mother was awful because she was flat out gorgeous. Her high cheekbones and bronze skin were the backdrop for her charcoal eyes. A trail of midnight silk hung from her ponytail holder, and her frame was perfect. It’s no wonder she had been offered numerous acting jobs as a teen.

I had seen pictures of her, and there is no doubt that had I been a talent scout, I would have snatched her up right away. My mother- Lucia De Luca- could have been a star. I could have been that baby whose face covered every magazine in sight. I could have been the topic of public gossip- “Lucia’s girl… did you see what she was wearing today? Such an outfit for just a little girl!” That could have been me. And I think too about what it could have been for my mother.

But she’s the one who turned the scouts down. She’s the one who said no. She’s the one who decided to stay at home and raise a family. I was her only child, her pride and joy. Francesca Graziella De Luca- Bianchi. My name. My mother’s dream. But certainly not mine. I was like my mother. We had the same cheekbones, dark hair, tan skin, and slender frame. But I was unlike her too. My eyes, my defining feature, were a light topaz color, unlike anyone else’s I knew.

So if my mother had been enough, why couldn’t I be? Why didn’t I have a good chance of making it in Hollywood? Every night before bed, I envisioned my face on billboards, on posters, and most importantly, in movies. Often, I would practice dialogues from my favorite movies. There were scenes in which I had to drop to my knees and cry, my emotions bubbling out of control. Other times, I practiced silly scenes with jokes and pranks and lots of pretend giggles. I practiced secretly in my room and whenever my parents left me alone, I would pull out some of my old favorites or research new ones.

It came to a time when I could no longer bear the fact that I was just another girl, just another dreamer, just another person taking up space, breathing the air, wasting away. And I absolutely could not stand that. So I did what I always do when I’m in need. I fired up Old Faithful.

Old Faithful. My laptop. My go-to guy when things got rough. He had saved me on countless school reports, science fair projects, and due dates. I seethed as I remembered that child stars weren’t looking up their Geography assignments online- they had tutors who schooled them on the off hours when they weren’t working. Soon. I told myself. Soon, I’ll be one of them.

I patted my fingers fiercely on my desk, making a strumming pattern. My homepage opened up, and my research began. The magnetic glow of my laptop pulled my eyes in, a shimmering star in the dreary room. A few clicks and taps, and I was looking at a list of steps to stardom.

For the next three and a half hours, I sat glued to the screen, analyzing, thinking, planning. In my mind, I counted my money, and what it would take for a bus ticket. The auditions weren’t that far away. It would only take about two hours by bus and then I could walk to the auditions. It said to have some sort of monologue prepared. Piece of cake! I told myself. Monologues were kind of my thing.

The agent part wouldn’t be so easy. I wouldn’t have time or money to hire an agent before my audition, but I was sure I would be good enough to make it to the second cut. By that time, I would have called my parents, and they would have enough time to come visit me and find a good agent. Also, I would be too deep into the auditions for them to pull me out.

I did consider telling my parents, asking my mother if I could audition rather than stowing away without a word. My mother would have no idea where I was, and she would be incredibly worried. I took comfort remembering that her pain would be short-lived.

My laptop shut down and I hurried to my bedroom to pack a suitcase. I would need something stylish, something bright. Something that would make me standout without looking too overdone. There were plenty of clothes dwelling in my closet, so I set out digging through them, trying to find something that would be just right.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. The monologue was running through my head. I knew it backwards and forwards, when to throw my hands up in fury, when to look to the sky, a slight shimmer of a tear on my cheek. A hastily packed suitcase was hiding beneath a shelf in my closet, and my piggy bank was hungry after my withdrawal. Tomorrow. I would leave tomorrow and finally let my dreams have their way.

I was standing in a room full of girls, age 12-16. My fourteen years fell right in the middle of that. There was certainly no shortage of girls. All around me they crowded in, bustling, bickering, pampering.

I was ready- there was no doubting that. In my mind, I rehearsed my lines, while smoothing out my hair. My mother would not have noticed my absence quite yet, but I tried not to focus on the happenings at home. This was my chance to show the world who I was.

They tried us out many at a time. When it came to me, I had to say my name, age, and what I would be performing.

“Hi I am Francesca Graziella De Luca- Bianchi. I am fourteen and I…” I continued on, but I was hardly conscious. This was it. This was my big shot at the world. Now or never, Francesca! I said in my mind. Even though I was being watched thoroughly, pens scratching paper after every one of my movements, I did a fantastic job. When I was told I had made the first cut, I was hardly surprised. I had expected this in some strange way. I was on the road to glory! That’s when I got the phone call.

“Francesca! Where are you?” My mother was breathing hard.

“Calm down, Mom. I’m fine. I am at an audition just a few hours away-”

“What! An audition- where?” I spoke to her, calmed her down, told her exactly what was going on and that she could come to see me. Before she even hung up, I heard the car start.

My mother arrived a little less than two hours later. She looked frazzled and I didn’t blame her. I must have added a lot of stress to her load. But even now, she was shining. Her glamour was impossible to ignore. You see, my mother had a certain aura about her. If she walked into a room, you had to stop whatever you were doing and stare. And that’s exactly what happened.

I was sure she was going to rip me away and drive me home as fast as she could, but she surprised me.

“How are you doing? So you made the first cut? That’s my little ‘Cesca.” Why was she happy? She was supporting me? I didn’t quite understand. She was so calm and relaxed. She closed her eyes.

I didn’t get the part. I was in the top three, but experience won. Another girl named Katherine beat me out. But I didn’t much mind. I had made it much farther than I should have. And more importantly, my mother finally saw that I was not joking about this career. She let me be, and she was proud of me.

As we speak, I am preparing for my next audition. When I lost out on the role, they told I had tons of potential and gave me the name of a good agent. Her name is Angela. I don’t really know what will happen from here, but I am sure Angela knows. What’s more, after fifteen years of rejecting opportunities, my mother took a job for a commercial. She was advertising some kind of laundry soap and so she got just what she wanted. Two actors accompanied her as her husband and child. A family. As for me, I have a whole life ahead of me. Most people would probably end this story with something like, “In the end, I realized it wasn’t about the fame anyway, it was the learning experience.” But not me. I’d still like to become a superstar. The difference is, no longer am I a solo act, a young girl staying up late in front of the computer screen and riding off in a bus. No. I, Francesca Graziella De Luca- Bianchi, am making a team effort. And when two different opinions can work together to achieve the same goal, that’s progress. I’m progress. And no matter what, that’s not going to change

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