The Audition of a Lifetime

August 18, 2010
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It was the day I had been waiting for my whole life. I had been counting down the months, weeks, days, and hours when I would be standing on the stage of Julliard, ready to pour everything I had worked so hard for into one single routine. Standing on the side of this storied stage, I breathed in deeply, taking in the sweet moment that would change my life forever. In just a few minutes, I would be standing on that stage, the stage where my mother had stood some many years ago, before the accident. The accident had left a sore deep down in the bottom of my soul: one that would never heal. Everyday my thoughts were engulfed with memories of her, and how my life would be so different if she had not died so young. If she was alive, I knew she would be here, right now, cheering me on. I looked into the audience, only to see my father, sister and brother. Now, I was ready to show my mother, in spirit, what a strong, determined girl she had taught me to be.

All of a sudden, I was pulled out of my trance as a teenage girl, who looked to be my same age, strode up behind me. She had curly, chestnut brown hair, and sparkling brown eyes. Her skin was tan, contrasting with the soft pink leotard that she wore.

"Hey," she whispered. "I'm Maria. I think that your audition is just before mine." Exchanging smiles, I introduced myself. Maria's New York accent differed greatly from my Midwest accent, and yet, I felt that we had so much in common, standing together before the audition of our lives.

"Elizabeth Johnson!" My name echoed up to the rafters and back down to my own two ears. I jumped in surprise, an electric bolt shooting through my body as the realization came over me.

"Take a deep breath," I whispered softly, as my hands started to shake. Maria gave me a pat on my back, and murmured, "You go, girl!" Why was I so nervous? I had practiced this routine so many times that it felt almost second nature. I stole a parting glance at Maria, and glided up onto the magnificent Julliard stage. Sighing, as I stood center stage in my black leotard, soft pink tights, and ballet shoes, I realized this would be the moment of truth. The music started, but I was more than ready. The routine that I had put all my effort into engrossed me. I thought, saw, and felt nothing else, except dance. I felt as if I was telling my whole life story in my routine: the happiest memories, ones with my family as a whole, with five people instead of four. Nevertheless, I also told of the lowest, saddest times of my life, and my struggle to break free. My mother's presence was all around me, and I could feel her eyes watching my every move. She had been my inspiration, and now I knew that I was hers. It was the one time since her death that I felt her in my spirit, and I knew that, indeed, she was not gone. In the blink of an eye, the routine was over, and the music faded away, along with my mother's spiritual presence. I held back tears, until I was motioned to leave the stage. Looking out into the audience, I saw my father, brother, and sister smiling at me, happiness and joy in their eyes.

After the auditions were complete, a roster was posted on the door of the dressing room listing the girls who had been accepted to the school of dance. Maria and I walked slowly to the crowd of girls at the door. Too afraid to look, but even more afraid to not to, I grabbed Maria's warm hand in mine and glanced at the list. My heart was pounding so hard I could hear it in my ears. Squeezing Maria's hand, I went down the list of names, holding my breath, until my eyes had reached the bottom of the list. I didn’t make it… I thought to myself, releasing Maria’s tightly gripped hand. No, no, no… how could this be happening? It felt as though my whole world was crashing down on top of me: my one chance to follow in my mother’s footsteps, to be a little closer to her, had ended. My knees locked and I backed straight into the wall. My shaking hands covered my face, tears started to run. My dance career was finished. All that I had worked for, all of the nerves, sweat, and tears, it was done, completely over. Maria came and stood next to me, and gave me a reassuring rub on my back. She had made the cut, and was going to attend Julliard. No words were spoken between us, but there was no need for comforting words.

All of the sudden, one of the highly respected instructors thrust open the door of the dressing room.

“Miss Johnson!” her voice overpowered the laughing and screaming girls, and the room became silent. I lifted my tear filled face up and made eye contact with her. “I need to have a word with you.” Shuffling my feet, I followed her into a dark hallway. She turned around to face me. “Elizabeth,” she started. “You were the last girl cut from our roster for the school of dance. The instructors have reviewed your routine, and we have decided that you will be accepted to our school. You are too talented of a dancer to be denied admission to our school.” My heart started to beat more rapidly as her words sunk into my realization. “Congratulations.” Uncontrollably, I gave her a big bear hug, crushing her skinny body in my strong arms.

“Thank you so much,” I cried. “You won’t be disappointed!” Running back into the dressing room, I found Maria, and told her the news.
“I knew you made it!” she yelled. We hugged, cried, and laughed at the same time, just trying to make sense out of this crazy moment in our lives. Suddenly, I saw my mother's figure smiling at me, pride reflecting off of her ghostly face. She gave me a kiss on the forehead and mouthed; "I am so proud of you." In a split second, she had dissolved in thin air.

"Welcome to the first day of our new lives!" Maria cried. We made eye contact, the excitement glowing in our faces. The day that I had been anticipating since a little girl was over, and it had definitely been worth the wait.

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