January 14, 2009
By Teresa Zimmermann, Spring, TX

As I stepped out of my car, I felt January blow through my legs, hardly covered. Refreshing, I thought. It was about seventy-five degrees in my car, and my nerves made it seem even warmer, so I welcomed the plunge into the calm, crisp, winter day. Even though all day cars blew past me, birds twittered above me, and school children bellowed across the parking lot, street, and hallways the world—at least to me--remained silent.

It wasn’t too cold. My nerves only made me smile as they ran upwards through my legs, into my stomach, and up the back of my neck, like a stream of nitroglycerin running upstream. In three hours, I’d be on stage. The show-ready smile wasn’t the only thing giving my anticipation away. I was clad in a show shirt, a jacket, leopard print sleep shorts, and all over tights and a pair of my favorite ballet flats. In my hands swung a pair of Capezio T-strap character-shoes, not to mention the bright turquoise sponge rollers in my hair, and the sunglasses.

Those shoes are the essence of my role as an actress; roles to be played, roles played, roles I’m playing, the drive to learn every last crudely-learned dance step and all of the blocking, only to polish it and practice it even more for the performance. Black, tan; it doesn’t matter what color, but once you start wearing your T-straps at rehearsal, it’s serious.

Those thoughts settled into every crevice of my brain, and stained it a shade of red that matched my lips fifteen minutes before places. Warm halogen vanity lights let the thoughts process, and with every pat of a make-up soiled sponge, I compacted it deeper, and harder. It’s ten minutes before places, and as time shrinks, my passion grows. Laughs, and eight-note ascending and descending scales erupted from every performer’s mouth during this time, including an exclamation of pain from the girl in the corner having trouble with a curling iron, with the frustration of lost rouge making up for itself in her cheeks. Five minutes to places, and we all gathered around the room to focus. We held hands, quiet, sweating, steady. The scent of Ben Nye make-up coating ourselves, as, warm and sick-nervous we stood. We say a thousand words of thanks, and “break a leg, you guys” and squeeze hands tight, cry, reapply make up, cry some more, and before we have the last set of false eyelashes on, we hear our siren, our duck-call, our awakening;

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