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Changed

“Now, a new comer to Open Mic Night, Evangeline Gray!”

I hesitantly walked on stage. The whole house was silent. Why did I ever decide to do this? I nodded at the guy by the karaoke machine. The music started.

“I’ve been in a rut, back and forth enough, heart like a wheel. Without you around, so uncomfortable is how it feels. Every time you’re near, trouble disappears under the ground. And when you go too far, silver cloud will start hanging around. I know whyyyy!”

The crowd was pumping up and so was I. Full Circle was one of my favorite songs by Miley Cyrus.

“Try to run, but I keep on coming back full circle and I can’t jump the track, can’t let you go-o-o-o. Tied to one, so I keep on coming back, full circle and I know you’ll come around, you’ll come around.”

I was smiling now and whistles came from the crowd.

“Skipping down a broken path, how long can I last please let me know-oh. Where’s the finish line cuz I’ve got to find somewhere to go. I don’t wanna hear, these people interfere what do they know-oh. What I feel inside, when I’m up all night needing you ohhh. And I know whyyyyy! Sing with me everyone!” I called. Now it was a party.

“Tried to run, but I keep on coming back, full circle and I can’t jump the track, can’t let you go-o-o-o. Tied to one, so I keep on coking back, full circle and I know you’ll come around, you come around. I’ll keep on running till we meet in the middle. I’ll push it right aside and I’ll give just a little. There’s miles to go, but we both know that we’ll make it! And I know whyyyy! On your feet! Come on!” I was dancing around the stage.

“Tried to run, but I keep on, coming back, full circle and I can’t jump the track, can’t let you go-o-o-o. Tied to one, so I keep on, coming back, full circle and I know you’ll come around, you’ll come around. Yeah I know you’ll come around, you’ll come aroundddd. Yeah I know you’ll come around, you’ll come aroundddddddddddd. Yeah!”

The crowd went wild. This is why I put myself through the nerve-wrecking beginning. It all pays off in the end.

“Sing something you wrote!” Someone called out.

“Yeah!” Other people started chanting. “Original! Original!”

I smiled and said, “Does anyone here have a guitar?”

A very nice acoustic guitar was passed up to me. “Okay, here goes. I wrote this a while ago for my mom who recently passed away.”

“I just wanted to say, thank you. For being there with me, every step of the wayyy. You supported all my dreams, and I’m hoping that they true, thanks to you, thanks to you. Never backed down, even when I was ready to give up on life. Told me to go strong and see the light. And I saw it, and I’m getting closer to it. Thanks to you. I wouldn’t be here right now, and I hope that you are proud cuz you made me who I am today, you by my every step of the way. Never backed down, even when I was ready to give up on life. Told me to go strong and see the light. And I saw it, and I’m getting closer to it. Thanks to you. So thank you, thank you, for being true. And if you’re watching me, remember, I love you. Never backed down, even when I was ready to give up on life. Told me to go strong and see the light. And I saw it, and I’m getting closer to it. Thanks to you. I love you…” My eyes were teary and when I looked up, so were the audiences’.

“Thanks everyone, for listening.” I got up and fled backstage.

My mom was my only family. She was the only good part of a messed up childhood. My dad was an alcoholic, and a drug abuser. He was put in jail many times for being caught with marijuana, heroin, and cocaine. When he wasn’t in jail, he was at home, beating my mom, me and my brother. My brother was the youngest and most vulnerable and eventually my dad’s beatings took a toll on him. When he was twelve, my brother drowned himself. My mom was strong, she took me and we left together. She had our names changed. I used to be Kandy Coul, but now I’m Evangeline Gray. My mom became Stephenie Gray. I haven’t heard from my father since, but I don’t believe he is dead. My mother had a secret from me. She had skin cancer and it had spread, to all her organs and she was dying. I was fifteen, my mother died. I couldn’t be caught by authorities. They would find out who my father was, well is, and send me back to him. Mother always loved music. She had me learn the guitar and piano; she taught me how to sing and write songs. After she died, I decided to honor her dream of becoming a singer by becoming one myself. I traveled around the U.S, singing at Open Mic Nights and little events. I still get nervous before each one. I picked these little venues because I couldn’t risk becoming public. That would make it too easy for my dad to find me. I was traveling to my home state next, Idaho. It was exactly a year since my mom fled from there with me, now I’m willingly returning. There were a couple Open Mic Nights; luckily none of them were near my home town.

I was shaking before I got on stage. My nerves were going haywire…

“And here is a new comer to our Open Mic Night, Evangeline Gray!”

Well, this time, there was clapping.

“These four walls, they whisper to me, they know a secret, I knew they would not keep. Didn’t take long for the room to fill with dust and these four walls where not strong enough.”

The crowd was nodding.

“Must have been something sent me out of my head, with the words so radical, not what I meant. Now I wait, for a break in the silence cuz it’s all that you left. It’s just me and these four walls again.”

Couples were swaying on the dance floor. A good sign.

“It’s hard now to let you be. I won’t make excuses, I’ve made my peace. Didn’t take long for me to lose the trust and these four walls came down around us. Woah, woah, yeah!”

The whole floor was filled with dancing couples now.

“Must have been something sent me out of my head, with the words so radical, not what I meant. Now I wait, for a break in the silence cuz it’s all that you left. It’s just me and these four walls again. Yeah, it’s difficult, watching us fade, knowing it’s all my fault, my mistake, yeah its difficult, letting you down, knowing it’s all my fault, you’re not around. Woah, woah. Must have been something sent me out of my head, with the words so radical, not what I meant. Now I wait, for a break in the silence cuz it’s all that you left. It’s just me and these four walls again.”

The crowd wasn’t as generous as the other with applause, but it was good enough for me.

“Kandy?”

I spun around, recognizing that voice. “Dad?” I whispered.

“Kandy, my baby!”

He looked so different, no longer the angry man I left behind.

“Dad?” I walked slowly towards him.

He grabbed me and I automatically tightened.

“Oh, I’m so sorry Kandy. For everything. Where’s, where’s you mom?”

“She died. She had cancer and she didn’t tell anyone because she knew that you would probably kill her. She’s been dead for half a year.”

“Kandy, honey, I’ve changed. Look at me.”

I looked at him. His eyes were bluer, his complexion clear. He was dressed neatly and there was no smell of alcohol on his breath or clothing.

“How? What?” I stammered.

“After you and, and, your mother left, I was devastated. I knew that I wasn’t a good dad. I’ve known that ever since Kip drowned. It was hard to change at first, but I met with some doctors and I’m getting better now, Kandy. I have a respectable job as a physician in the local hospital. There’s a new house now, and, and, I’ve missed you so much. I didn’t recognize you at first; you’ve grown so much. It was your voice that really made me remember; your voice is so much like your mother’s.” He smiled sadly.

“Dad, it’s great that you are better. I’m sure that Mom’s proud. But I really have to get going. There another Open Mic Night tomorrow, a couple miles from here. You can totally come.” I was so glad that my dad was better. There was already a song forming in my head.

“Next up is Evangeline Gray!”

I got on stage, my nerves were surprisingly still, with my guitar.

“So this is a song I wrote for my father.”

I smiled into the distance where he was sitting.

“We left you, about a year ago. Couldn’t take it anymore. You were everything we didn’t want, so we went, no regrets at all. But now I’m back again and I’ve found here. You’ve changed for the better.”

I breathed in.

“I’ve lived so long without you, don’t know what say now that I found you. But I’m so glad that you are different now. And I forgive you. And I still love you. And she does too.”

That part was about Mom.

“You caused us pain for so many years. We had to go, on the road. And after Mom died, I was all alone, with no home. But now I’m back again and I’ve found here. You’ve changed for the better.”

Dad was actually crying!

“I’ve lived so long without you, don’t know what say now that I found you. But I’m so glad that you are different now. And I forgive you. And I still love you. And she does too. And when I speak now, I speak for us all, Mom, Kip and I. Now I was moving on to bigger things when I came back, and saw you here. I’ve lived so long without you, don’t know what say now that I found you. But I’m so glad that you are different now. And I forgive you. And I still love you. And we all doooo.”

The crowd was silent, but it was the kind of silent that said, awwwwwwwwww.

I exited and ran into my father’s arms. It felt so right to be back again.





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