All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
She was young, a home-grown, farm-raised type. The classic ‘country’ girl. Always barefoot, and outside. Drove an old, blue, beat-up Chevy. Nothing different than any other girl around her. Until she sang. Not many people ever heard Becca sing, but those who did would never forget her voice.
Becca had grown up helping her parents, visiting her grandparents, and going to church every single Sunday. She’d sing while she worked, whether it was laundry, or cleaning coops. A few times she’d tried to overcome her shyness and sing to her church or in front of her family. Never worked though, she always stopped. Those who heard her sing were only those lucky enough to be passing by as she worked.
Becca knew she was good though, she could feel it. Every time she sang, there was just something there. That passionate feeling, the one feeling that can make everything okay. It made her days pass easier, and quicker. It could drown out the noises she didn’t want to hear, whether it be her parent’s fighting or the thunder outside that always made her jump. Becca knew it was silly, but she couldn’t help it. She dreamed of leaving. Traveling. Singing. Most importantly, just singing, for the whole world to hear. She knew things like this happened other places, like New York. But, that was far away, very far. And expensive, not something her family and it’s farm could ever pay for. So, for now, she’d stay in Kentucky, living in her small town, New Castle. Population of nine hundred and nineteen.
Saturday morning, Becca woke up early, as usual. She stayed in bed longer than she should have, waiting and listening. Wishing, that for one day, she could sleep in, instead of doing the chores that must be done. She heard her father get up, and listened until she heard the screen door in back close. He was going to start his day, working until mid-morning when breakfast would be ready. Becca knew if she wasn’t up and dressed soon, neither of her parents would be very happy. Which, would make the rest of the day not exactly fun. So, she got up, got dressed and went out to the backyard, where her father was working.
“Morning, Becca. I need your help this morning.”
“I know, I’m sorry, I fell back asleep. I’ll go get started.”
“Not this morning, your Mom can handle the chickens and your normal chores. I want your help with this.”
A week or so ago, the horses had somehow gotten loose. Becca’s father discovered a weak spot in the fence that had somehow fallen low, letting the horses easily jump over it. Now, he had to fix it, so the horses would have a free pasture to run in again. Not exactly what Becca wanted to do, but it had to be done.
“Whadda you want me to do?”
“I need supplies, you can go get them, so I don’t have to waste time going back and forth.”
Becca knew this job would take all day, meaning absolutely no time for friends this Saturday. Maybe she’d get lucky and she would need to run to town for supplies. She would probably see some of her friends then, the town was all basically on one street. But, for now, she’d just have to work. On her way back from the barn with everything she could carry in one trip, she heard her mother’s voice. Loud though, yelling. Not really anything new, but still not something she wanted to hear.
“There’s no way I have time to do all of her chores, and mine, and make YOUR breakfast!”
“Well, unless YOU want to build this fence, you don’t have a choice!”
When her parents noticed Becca, they stopped as usual. Attempting to keep her oblivious. She was seventeen, and certainly not dumb. She knew they fought. She knew why too. Her mom never wanted this, not the farm life or the small town, or any of it. Becca took after her mom. She knew that was where she got her dream. Becca wondered a lot what her mom wanted from the city life. To perform, like what Becca wanted? Sing, dance, act? Just the busy life, surrounded by tons of people? Becca knew better than to ask though. Not only would it upset her mother, but if her dad overheard or found out… That wasn’t something she wanted to risk. He wasn’t a mean man. But he wanted control over his family, and he certainly had it.
After a long, hard day of taking supplies back and forth, squeezing in some of her chores, and listening to her parents argue, Becca was tired. She hadn’t been lucky enough to take her beat-up Chevy into town, and she had been around her father all day, so she hadn’t been able to sing one word. Not a good day in her eyes; she didn’t know how many more of these she could take. Becca would be eighteen very soon, about two weeks. She’d been thinking about that for months. Eighteen years old, an adult. She could be free. But, she wasn’t sure how she could do it. She’d need money, which she didn’t have a way to get. Her parent’s wouldn’t give it to her. They’d never willingly let her leave. But, she could. Becca knew she would struggle. She also knew if she left, her parent’s would never financially support her again. But, would it be worth it? She thought it would; and in two weeks, she was going to find out.
Somehow, Becca wanted to approach her mom. Confront her. Ask her why she never pursued her big city dreams, if she regretted it, why she hated the farm. Most importantly, what she would think if Becca wanted to pursue her dream. Maybe Becca would even sing for her, try to let her mom really see that she was passionate. Doing this behind her dad’s back would be the hard part. If he found out, he would do everything in his power to stop her. Becca knew that he couldn’t find out until she was completely ready to leave, when he could no longer stop her.
Tomorrow, Sunday, would be Becca’s chance. Every Sunday, after church, Becca’s dad went ‘out’ with the guys. Becca wasn’t sure what exactly they did, but she knew it happened every Sunday, which meant it would be just her and her mom. Most Sundays, Becca would try to be with her friends. But, not this week. She needed to be home, and make sure her mom was too.
When the family sat down for dinner, Becca let the normal conversations play out. The small talk, questions that no one really cared to hear the answers. Then, she brought up the next day. Subtly, she mentioned church. Then, that her friends wouldn’t be able to be with her, even though she had no idea whether or not that was true.
“I’m sorry Becca, but that’s actually good to hear. I could really use some help around the house, while your dad is out.”
Becca’s whole body relaxed. It worked, she would have her mom alone. Perfect. The family finished dinner, cleaned the kitchen, and went their separate ways for the night. Becca showered, and went to bed early. Not something she usually did in the summer, even though she always had to be up early. Tonight though, she was too nervous for the next day to concentrate on anything. So, Becca laid in bed for a long time. Not able to sleep, she planned out what she wanted to say. Knowing she’d never be brave enough to sing to her mom, not yet, she had to plan her words carefully. They, by themselves, would have to prove just how passionate she was. Maybe, she could start with asking her mom about her own dreams. While her brain was still going full-speed trying to decide what to do the next day, Becca drifted into a very restless sleep.
Without sleep the night before, Becca didn’t wake up the next morning until her mom came in to her room. She had overslept, big time, and needed to be ready for church in a half hour. Running around her room, she barely had time to think about what she had to do after church, later that day. When her family piled into her Chevy (she was driving that day), and she shifted into reverse, it hit her. In just a few hours, she would know if her dream was possible or not. Without her mom, there was no way she could do it. But, for now she couldn’t think about it. She couldn’t let it show that she was a wreck. Becca sat through church, not really able to listen or think about anything being said. Afterwards, Becca dropped her dad off down the road, and then started towards the road out to the country. Once on the gravel road, she could barely concentrate on driving. The bumps, and dust of the road seemed to go on forever.
“What were your friends doing today that they couldn’t have plans with you?”, Becca’s mom said, breaking the silence.
“I’m not really sure, I just know they were busy.”
As they pulled in the driveway, Becca’s mom just nodded in understanding. This was it. They were home, just the two of them. Becca put the truck in park, and walked up to the house, into the kitchen. Not wanting to postpone it one minute longer, she sat down at the table. Her mom sat across from her, knowing Becca must want something. She looked at Becca expectantly, and Becca realized she had no idea how to start. What should she say? What should she ask? All the planning from the night before flew out her mind, she was drawing a blank. So, Becca took a very deep breath and stood up. Not able to actually face her mom, she turned towards the window looking over the horse’s pasture, and their new fence. With one last deep breath, Becca sang. Quietly at first, then louder as she began to relax, being comforted by the sound of her own voice. She sang only half-way through the song, hitting every note perfectly, then her nerves got the better of her, and she stopped. Then, she heard her mom. Becca’s mom kept going, trying to urge her daughter to finish. But, Becca was too shocked. She turned around to make sure the voice she heard finishing her song really was her own mother. It was. Becca quietly joined back in, not wanting to drown out her mom at all. As the last note ended, Becca looked up to see her mom crying. Quiet tears, almost tears of happiness.
“Mom… Why? Why haven’t I ever heard that? Why doesn’t anyone ever hear it? Why?”
“I could ask you the same thing, Becca. I met your dad not long out of high school. We were young, and fell in ‘love’. We rushed things, and married. I never considered how much I would be giving up. But, because I do love him, I stay. I’m not a farm-girl by any means. But, I do choose to be a good wife, and mother. So, here I am.”
“You want to be somewhere else though, not here with us. Somewhere big, glamorous. Somewhere where you can sing, and the whole world will hear. Not just the fields around you.”
“You feel the same Becca, don’t you? No one can describe that dream without knowing, really knowing, what it feels like.”
“I do, Mom. But that’s alright. There’s no way. We can’t afford it.”
“ Work, Becca. You will be eighteen in a few weeks. Whether your dad likes it or not, you can leave. Get a job, save your money. Get enough to travel. Then, work as you go. You can make it, and if not, come back to me. I won’t let your dad turn you away.”
“Work? There’s to much work for me here already, I can’t take on an actual job. Who would do my chores? There’s no way.”
“Me, that’s who. I passed up my dream, it’s too late now. I won’t let you do the same. Now, go. Go into town before your dad needs picked up and find somewhere that needs you and will pay decent. Go.”
Becca went. She wasn’t going to protest. With so many things going through her mind, she drove down the gravel road back to town. Where would she try? What if her dad saw her? Would she be able to save enough, and how long would it take? The main street in town was lined with all the businesses New Castle had. Not many options. Becca knew her best bet was probably being a waitress. Where though? Becca tried several places, no one hiring. Hometown Pizza had a sign in the window though. Now hiring. Parking her Chevy, Becca took a deep breath. She walked in, and to the right, in a booth with his friends, was her dad. Becca did an about- face and walked out the door. Now what? There was no way she could just walk in there and ask for an application. Not with her dad there, he couldn’t know. Not yet. The radio-clock, which actually still worked, in her truck read 2:10. Still fifty minutes or so until her dad would need picked up. But she couldn’t just sit here, he would notice eventually. Becca sat in her truck, head on the steering wheel, thinking. What could she do? She had to get in there, had to get that application. When Becca heard the knock on her window, she jumped, hitting her head on the low ceiling of her Chevy. She almost cried from relief when she saw it was Sammie, not her dad. Becca rolled down her window, smiling a nervous smile at her friend.
“Hey Sam, whatcha doin here?”
“Meeting some of the girls. How come you couldn’t join us today? You’re already here…”
“Yeah, I know. Trust me, I wish. Only here to pick up my dad though. Turns out he’s not ready yet. Listen, Sam, I need a favor. It’s gonna sound weird, but I promise to explain later. I need you to go inside and ask for an application. Then bring it out to me. Hopefully, I can get it filled out in time for you to take it back in. If not, I can find a way to get it back later.”
Becca thanked God she had such good friends, even if she couldn’t see them as often as she wanted. Sammie never even questioned her. She turned, went inside, and came back with an application. With Sammie sitting next to her in the truck, Becca quickly filled out the application, praying her dad wouldn’t look out the window. She had been smart enough to move the truck, but the only other place she could park it was across the street, and her dad could still see her if he paid enough attention. Even though her shaking hands slowed her down, Becca filled the application out in record time. Not wanting to risk drawing attention to her truck, Becca had Sammie run the application back across the street. The truck’s clock read 2:45, only 15 minutes now. No sense in going anywhere. Sammie went inside to join the others for pizza and Becca was left with just her thoughts, her Chevy, and some country radio for company. After waiting the fifteen minutes and singing along to a few of her favorites, Becca pulled back across the street.
When Becca woke up the next Sunday, her mom was already in the kitchen. Becca had slept in, but her mom was still in a good mood. She found this weird, her mom was usually upset if she slept in, it meant a few more chores wouldn’t be done. But when Becca came into the kitchen her mom turned around with a big smile.
“Good mornin, Becca.”
“You’re, uhh… happy… this morning..”
“I got a phone call this morning, for you. You didn’t pick the best morning to oversleep.”
“I know, I know. I’m sorry. I just didn’t wake up, and I know we have church, and…”
“Just make sure you don’t do it tomorrow.”, her mother warned, surprisingly gently.
“I won’t. I know, I have chores, and the chickens, and…”, Becca rambled.
“Oh, yes. And work. And dad will probably need help.. Whoa, what? Work?”
“That phone call I got this morning, Becca”, her mother said, turning around with a smile.
“Ahh! Oh, but daddy. I never told him! We have to, we have to tell him.”
“I did. He wasn’t happy. But he’ll move on. He’s out working in the barn now, pounding out his anger with that darn hammer.”
Becca laughed. This was it. Her adventure was beginning. She had the job. Would soon have the money. Had one parent’s support and, surprisingly, the other one wasn’t going to stop her.
Waitressing was harder than she imagined. It took her weeks to get used to it. Keeping track of which orders she needed to take, which would be ready when, and everything else. Becca had earned a lot, more than she expected she would in these months she’d been working. When her mom took her to the bank to deposit her last check, they checked her savings, to see just how much she had. Both Becca and her mom’s eyes widened at the amount. It wasn’t much, but just enough. Enough to get her started. Becca’s real journey could begin. She could go. New York, ready or not, Becca was coming.
After packing, listening to all her mom’s warnings, an awkward good-bye with her dad, and promises of writing, Becca got in her Chevy and pulled away. Going down the gravel road, she enjoyed the bumps for once. Rolled down her windows, and didn’t think one negative thought about the dust. She tried to remember every detail of it, knowing that this would be the last time in a very, very long time she would experience it.
Traveling was hard, finding her way even harder. Along the way, Becca stopped for directions more times than she could count, ate more fast-food than she could imagine, and paid for more gas than she wanted to think about. When the city first came into view, Becca actually had to pull over. She couldn’t concentrate on the road, she wanted to take it all in. After a few minutes to recover from her shock, she pulled back on the road, and went a little faster than she should have towards the New York City skyline.
It took Becca weeks to get ready to really pursue her dreams. It was hard, very hard. Almost enough to discourage her completely. She found a job, in a very small store. Just enough to get her on her feet, maybe. For a while, she lived out of her Chevy. Finally, Becca found the cheapest apartment she could, which her job could just barely pay for. She kept working, found a better job that just barely paid more than the last. Becca found that in front of strangers, her stage fright wasn’t as bad. She sang as she walked to work, in her apartment, always. She rarely stopped, which came in luck.
One day, as Becca walked her usual path to work, singing one of her old favorite country songs, she felt a tap on her shoulder. Knowing better than to stop, she just barely turned. A man in a suit was walking behind her, and made eye contact with her. Sensing that he was safe enough, Becca turned and asked what he wanted. When he responded with ‘you’, she almost turned to run. But, when he added ‘your voice’, she was speechless. He introduced himself, head of a music company, one that he wanted to sign her through. Becca was still speechless, so she simply nodded, shook his hand, and took his card.
When her mom was working on the laundry as usual, a few weeks later, she turned on the radio. When her usual country station wasn’t coming in quite good enough, she started flipping channels. Finally settling on one of the only stations coming in, she went back to work. After suffering through a few of the newer ‘hits’, she reached to turn the radio off. No music would be better than this, she thought to herself. Right as her hand touched the switch, she stopped. The voice, it was familiar. Not coming in well enough for her to place though. She adjusted the antennae, she wanted to know who this voice belonged to. She tuned in just in time to hear the end of an inspirational interview.
“I may have started out as a country girl with just a few dents in my fender, and rips in my jeans, but I’m proof that anyone can make it.”
As she smiled to herself, Becca’s mom nodded. Her daughter was exactly right.