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When I had heard the phone ringing, I had been walking slowly not thinking anything of it. Walking towards the phone in the kitchen was nothing new. It happened all the time, but what I didn’t know the time was that this call was about to change everything for me.
I had picked up the phone and said, “Hello?” The voice on the other end of the line was gentle but loud at the same time. “May I speak to Dimitra, please,” he had said. “This is she, how can I help you?” “Oh. Hello, my name is Joseph. I’m the talent scout for Cirque Du Sole. We’ve seen many videos from your competitions, we were interested in knowing if you would like to come and try out for the Cirque.” Before he had said that I had already been in shock, my mouth hanging open like an imbecile. “I would love to come! What would it entail though?” That’s the question my mother had always told me to ask first when it came to business. “Well basically all you would have to do is come here to Las Vegas and do some tryouts. Then a panel and I would decide whether to sign you to us or not.”
By then, my face had been aching from smiling so wide. I had known that I had had a huge shot of getting into Cirque but I hadn’t thought that it would’ve been happening then. “Ok so when should I come down to Las Vegas? That’s where the Cirque’s HQ is, right? And, if you don’t mind me asking, what’s the chance of me getting signed with you?” I had to know that, when I had heard the offer I knew that I needed to ask that, I needed to know if I would have a pretty good shot at this. “Well how about in two weeks? That will give you plenty of time to get ready and practice anything you want to show us. As for what percentage I would say about… hmm… 70%?” As soon as I had heard that I had said to myself, I knew that this was my shot, this was my big chance and I’m going to make it.
I had asked him to excuse me for just one moment and right after I had put him on hold I screamed and screamed and screamed. That was all I could do I needed to get all of my excitement out of me. Once I had calmed down I picked up the phone, picked up the phone and said, “Sorry my mother was calling me I needed to answer it. Liar! Well two weeks sounds perfect. My mother and I shall arrange everything and do you have a number that I can contact you at if I have any questions?” He gave me his number and we had said our ‘thanks’ and I hung up. I had honestly never been happier in my life. Getting signed to the Cirque had always been my dream and I had gotten an offer to try for it. My mother had come home a few minutes later, I ran up to her screaming and then I had told her about everything and she started screaming with me. She had started to tell me how difficult my father was going to be about this. I told her I know that he doesn’t support me with my dream. Now the only thing we had to do was tell my father and we hadn’t been looking forward to that.
“Twisting and Regret”
I had always hated getting up in the morning, even if it was to go practice or to go to a competition. I was a teenager and no teen likes getting up in the morning, no matter how early or late. Getting up that particular morning had been different though. I was excited, rushing through everything just to hurry up and get to the gym to practice. God, I couldn’t have gotten ready any faster. As I had rushed down stairs I almost face planted into the shining bamboo flooring. Running into the kitchen I had been planning on everything I had to do to get out the door as fast I could. “Wow, slow your role. We don’t have to be there for another 45 minutes.” My mother had said. Slow down? Slow down?! How could you want me to slow down when I was only a week and a half away from the opportunity of a lifetime!? While I was screaming inside my head my eyes were wide with disbelief. I knew my mother had known what I had been thinking ‘cause she’d told me, “Oh don’t give me that look, you know just as well that I do that we have enough time to eat breakfast, well I eat and you drink a smoothie, and get there 15 minutes early.” I’d known she was right, but who wants to be wrong? Back then I had never wanted to be wrong, I had wanted everything to be perfect. “Fine,” I had said, “Let’s ‘eat’ and then we’ll go.” Stomping off to the table I’d plopped down into my usual spot.
Twenty minutes later we’d pulled up to the gym. We hadn’t even stopped when I opened the door and jumping out to get inside and start. I needed to stretch and I needed to warm up. Nothing had seemed as important right then as that was. I ran into the locker room, changed and ran back out onto the floor to start stretching. I’d felt the familiar burn in my thighs that I always had when I did my over splits. The weight on my arms started to get heavier and heavier as I’d pushed my body up into a handstand. “Dimitra! You’ve done enough warming up. Get on tumbling track practice some flips.” Even though I hadn’t see him I’d known who it was; Elliot.
Elliot had been my coach since I was 2 years old. I’d put my feet back down on the rough, fuzzy mat and started walking towards the tumbling track. I jumped up and down on it then started running down the track. I’d always loved the feeling of air whipping through my honey brown ponytail. I’d jumped once and did my usual backhand spring into an Ariel then a back twist, landing feet together, arms up and head held high. I’d gone through a bunch of other routines but as I had done that last on something felt off. As I had done my handstand twist, I’d heard a huge pop then felt my face crash into the floor my body collapsing on top of me. I hadn’t heard anything except my scream filled with agony. Elliot had come running out and picked me up. I felt another shock of pain course through my arm and shoulder. “It’s ok. You’ll be fine you just popped your shoulder out, it’s ok, it’s ok.” He kept repeating over and over. “Take a 30 minutes break and you should be good as new. Ok? Go sit down.”
Thirty minutes later I’d walked back on the mat moving my arm around in circles just to make sure I hadn’t it hurt it too badly. When I thought I’d be fine, I jumped right back into practicing the routine I’d been doing. When we’d finished the first routine. I started the second Acro routine we’d started the week before. When I did my fish roll, toe-rise, calypso combo I saw my dad walk through the door. Having been shocked at the sight of him, I’d forgotten it was Tuesday; his workout day. I’d felt stupid and astonished that I’d forgotten. S***, s***, s***!!! God he’s going to kill me! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I kept going though. For some reason I hadn’t been able to stop myself. One part of me had said to run off and hide, the other had said, Keep going! Show him what you’re made off; show him you can make it! Prove to him that this isn’t a waste of time! So I did I kept going even after I’d seen him barging towards me, red in the face. I could read in his face that he was way passed being pissed off; it looked like he was a bomb. The seconds ticking away until he went off, on problem had been that I was the target and I had been in the range of fire.
“Chance and Vengeance”
As we’d gotten into the car I’d felt so happy and nervous knowing where we were going. In less than two hours we were going to be in Cirque Du Soleil. After I’d trained for so long, my chance to make it big was finally here. The driver put our luggage into the trunk and I opened the door falling into the plush black car seats of the Mercedes. The light slowly faded as my eyelids closed and I fell into a dreamless sleep.
“Wake up honey! We’ve got to get going! We need to go up to the room and leave our bags. Your audition is in an hour and we still have to drive to the Cirque Du Soleil. Come on!” My eyelids fluttered open and I’d seen her face staring down at me. “What time is it?” I asked. “It’s 3:30 so hurry up.” Responded my mom. Ok, ok, Dimitra get up and GO! I’d been thinking to my self. Pushing my self up into a sitting position, I pushed myself self-forward with my eyes closed. I’d been expecting the door to be open already. Obviously it hadn’t been considering I had then had a huge red bump on my forehead from slamming my head into the window. I pushed back a little bit opened the door stepped out onto the sidewalk and went to the trunk to get my bags. I waited for my mom in front of the clear, shinning, and automatic doors of the hotel. Tapping my foot rapidly against the pavement I yelled in my head, hurry up! I know I was slow but really?! You’re like a freaking turtle! Once my mom was close to the doors I walked quickly to the front desk so we could check in. I could see the weariness on my mothers face, just then when everything was about this opportunity and me I realize how old my mother was. The few grey hairs in her hair and the couple wrinkles by her eyes. “Dimitra.” I heard my mother say, snapping me out of my little trance. “Yeah?” I said sounding a little drunk. “Poor baby your probably exhausted. Try and wake up though, we have to go after we drop the bags off.” She looked so worried about my health and me most likely, she always is. It’s understandable though considering that I’m so thin from having to contort my body. “Come on mom.” I said smiling a bit. We went up to the 7th floor and opened the doors to the room. I’d almost fallen since my mother was rushing me in telling me urgently to go get changed.
After I changed we rushed out of the hotel entrance almost running to the car waiting for us. It was the same car as the one that brought us here. I layed down on the back seat while my mom climbed into the front. As soon as my head hit the cushion I was out cold.
I woke up to the sound of blaring music and laughter. “Alexandra! This is the Cirque not Broadway! This is also one of our creepier shows. So… be creepy and haunting! Not bubbly!” I automatically knew it was the guy I’d talked to over the phone, Joseph. He had the same calm, yet abrasive tone to his voice. I sat up a bit groggily but jumping with excitement. I’m here. Oh my God. I’m here. I can’t believe it. It’s my time. I’d kept thinking. The driver parked the car and I stepped out, managing not to hit my head this time. The walkway to the actual entrance was, or at least looked, very long.
I had been right about it being long. Five minutes later were at the entrance with Joseph waiting at the double-doors. “Welcome! Welcome to the Cirque, Dimitra!” Apparently he already knew who and what I looked like. “Hi Joseph, I’m Gemma, Dimitra’s mother. Thank you so much for giving her this opportunity.” I looked at my mother trying to silently plead her to shut up. She kept on rambling and it was embarrassing. “Well it’s no problem, Gemma. Come on in and she can warm up.” It looked like his face was officially stuck in the crazy huge smile on his face. “Ok thanks” I said smiling back at him.
A few minutes later I was warming up while my mom went to go ask one of the stage hands where she can find some water bottles. I looked up from my back bridge and saw a glimpse of someone looking at me. I pushed off my feet into a standing position. As I straightened my back though the girl was gone. “Dimitra.” I turned around to see my mom holding two water bottles. “Come on its time. You’re warmed up right? Good.” I turn on the palm of my foot and walk towards her, shaking the nerves out of my body.
“Gather ‘round everyone and say hello…. To your competition.” Joseph said through a microphone, with a huge creepy smile on his face. I walked to the circle that everyone was gathering in. As I pushed myself into a place I saw something that made my heart stop. Across from me was Natalia. Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. Oh h*ll no! I was basically screaming in my head. She tilted her head and smiled at me, so filled with fake sweetness it made me sick. ‘Bring it on’ I mouthed. Turning my attention back to what Joseph who was telling us what we had to do.
A while later were far into the last task which just happened to be one of my best events, improvisation. We all twisted and turned and flipped. It was way better than any practice I had ever had in the gym. Once we all finished moving to the music we got lined up in front of the panel and Joseph. Standing there was nerve racking. Watching all of them whisper to each other and look at each of us critically. I looked down the line and saw Natalia with her head held high acting arrogant and successful. “Ok. Cut people first, then tell you our decision.” They went through a list of the others who hadn’t made it; one of the girls had actually collapsed, sobbing. It was shocking but it was understandable. This was her, everyone’s, dream and today had to be one of the greatest days of her life and now it was over… most likely for good. “That’s it. Now it’s down to you two.” Said Joseph, practically giving me a heart attack. I’d been so focused on other’s reactions I hadn’t noticed who was left and of course it was Natalia. She would have done anything to beat me. “You both have done so amazing today and we really wish there was room for both of you, but sadly, there isn’t. So, as for that, the one who is now an official Cirque Du Soleil cast member is…” My blood was rushing through my head, making it pound I could hear every heart beat. It felt like the world was slowing down, either from that anticipation or the thought of thinking I’m not going to get signed. “…Dimitra welcome to the Cirque!” I heard cheers and Natalia screaming but after Joseph finished talking I couldn’t hear anything. All I felt was the overwhelming joy of how much I’d wanted this and now I finally had it. This was my life now.