One last quick glance in the mirror, each hair pinned in place, wrinkles smoothed out of her velvety dress with a soft brush from her shaking hand, she gently closes her eyes and sighs deeply. This is the big night, this is it, she thinks, praying for the best as she slips on her uncomfortably tight shoes and takes each step as slowly and methodically as possible toward her spot to wait for her cue. She checks the clock: three more minutes. The butterflies begin to fly more rapidly, bouncing back and forth off the sticky walls of her stomach, spinning dizzily around and around, ignoring her silent pleas. As the lights finally dim, the audience quiets, their silence slamming into her like a brick, causing her delicate heart to skip a beat. She takes one deep breath, wonders why she does this to herself, parts the curtains with her unsure hand, and stops. Nope, can't do it, she thinks, but her feet move despite her command to stay in place, and she finds herself alone on the wide stage. Curious eyes staring, waiting to be drawn in, she can feel each and every one of them until her mouth finally opens and they're pulled into her world, swirling around, understanding all, feeling the magic. She loses herself in this world, feels their energy, returns it with a glow unlike any they've felt before. Suddenly they're all clapping, standing up. Smiling deeply she bows, warmth and happiness emanating from every pore on her body as she slowly walks backstage wishing she could remain in that enchanting world forever. Flowers, hugs, and excited compliments greet her behind the curtain, with what seems like thousands of hands reaching out to her, overwhelming her. She moves in a daze, back to the mirror, slipping her aching feet out of those horrid shoes. Carefully pulling the dress off, wriggling into her own pants and pulling on her fuzzy shirt as she looks up and touches the cold glass gingerly with her small hand. She did it. It's over, she thinks as she realizes that her nervousness and anxiety were all for nothing and she can't wait to do it all again. c
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.