It Ended With A Bang

October 24, 2012
I can feel my heart beat against my chest. My head throbs, as thoughts of doubt run through my head, I can’t do this. Not alone. I thought I could a minute ago but now, it seems impossible. This was supposed to be a duet. I didn’t try out for this talent show as a solo because I’m too afraid to make a mistake. Dananejah is a better singer than I. She’s “the good one”, not me. I never do things alone, and I won’t start tonight. But, I have to. The blood red curtains in front of me are closed, and remain still. On the opposite side of the curtain, the announcer announces our names. Her voice is as squeaky and high pitched as a mouse, but the microphone seems to make her voice loud. “Now, a duet by Rashida and Danaejah singing, Listen” I hear the click of the heels against the wooden stage floor as the announcer exits the stage. The curtains drive into opposite directions, revealing my dark shadow to the audience.

A weary old, woman, quickly shuffles to my side, hands me a microphone, and darts back off stage. The microphone slowly slides down my sweaty palms. The white lights flash on and finally reveal me on stage. I stand there, helpless, and unknowing of what’s to come. The empty space around me threatens my confidence. Why did I do this? I begin questioning every decision leading up to this point. I should’ve known she wouldn’t show. I can’t stand the mummers of the crowd. I can only see the faces in the front three rows. The rest are faceless shadows. They all judge me as I stand awkwardly in one place, thinking and regretting signing up for this talent show. I wish I hadn’t let Danaejah talk me into this. Maybe this was her plan all along: to make me look like the fool, and show what little talent I had. No. I reject those thoughts of deceit. No, no, no. She must have a good reason. Besides, she’s my best friend.

“Why is she just standing there?”

“What song is she singing again?”

“I thought this was a duet?”

The soft mummers of the crowd remind me, I have a solo to sing. I reposition the microphone in my sticky hands. The musical backing track begins. I open my mouth, take in the warm air, and release the first notes of the song. “Listen, to the song here in my heart. A melody I start, but can’t complete.” My voice trembles and rattles in my throat, like a shaken jar full of tiny little pebbles. But, somehow I sing the right notes and words. Whoa. I can’t even believe I’m doing this. Let alone, doing it well. I feel so powerful. The crowd doesn’t throw tomatoes, laugh, or boo me off stage. This is not how I thought they would react. As I sing, I smile as big as my lips will allow. I add more difficulty to some notes, to spice things up. Oh yeah! I’m on a roll. Duets. Ha! Forget about duets. I’m amazing as a solo. Boy did Danaejah miss --- I stop thinking as a weirdly familiar feeling runs through my body. I continue singing well but, without spice. I’m too distracted by this warm feeling sliding down my legs. It feels like very warm water. Oh no.

Fifteen minutes earlier, I remember being so nervous, I was shaking like Don Knotts. We were backstage and my coach kept giving me water to calm me down.

“I don’t see why you’re so afraid. You made it past auditions! Isn’t that enough?” she asks.

“No, Mrs. Lock. It’s not. We all know Danaejah is the one with the real talent.” I respond with a vicious attitude.

“Now you know that’s not true…”

Mrs. Lock continued talking while I tuned out, avoided engaging in the conversation, and drank more water. Gosh, how many glasses did I have again?

A lot. At least four full glasses. Standing on stage, I sing my last verse of the song. The urine still slides down my legs, and drips to the floor. A small puddle forms on the wooden floor between my legs. The audience gasps like the sudden flap of a million bird wings. The faces I can see hold shocked, amused, and disgusted expressions. I can just imagine the horror on the faces of the people I can‘t see. Just as their shocked faces turn into smiles, and open-mouthed laughs, the curtains are yanked back together. The lights are shut off. I’m done. I look at the pee on the ground. Oh. My. Gosh. Well, what a great way to start the show! Not.

My coach runs on stage and pulls me into her arms. She attempts to comfort me.

“Are you okay?” she asks.

I don’t answer. I couldn’t believe what I’d just done. Wow. Fourth grade just isn’t my year. A janitor grabs a mop and starts cleaning my unexpected gift to him. He glares at me with utter disgust. I can hear laughter on the other side of the curtain. I run down the hallway, to the bathroom. I close the door and place my hands on the rim of the sink. My head slumps down and I stare at the sink’s drain. I pull my head up and look at my face in the mirror. I giggle. “Haaahha.” Despite peeing on myself in front of the entire elementary school, I'm proud. I sang the best I ever had that night. I didn’t need someone by my side. Struggling on my own, gave me motivation, and a better view of what I wanted to do, and who I wanted to become.

A tall woman appears to my surprise. Our eyes meet in the mirror. She’s wearing a beautiful, long, flowy, black dress. Her dark hair rests on her shoulders.

“Wow.” She says.

I recognize her high-pitched voice: she’s the announcer. Her blue eyes are open wide and her jaw is dropped. Scratching her head she begins:

“That was…”

“Gross.” I interrupt. “I know.”

“No!” she responds. “That was great! I heard you rehearse before, but tonight, was definitely the best I’ve heard you sing.”

“Really?” I say in disbelief. No way was this my best.

“Umm…yeah! So what you wet your pants.”

I thought I just sounded good to myself. That maybe the smell of urine, nervousness, and nausea, had interfered with my hearing.

“Haahha!” I laugh aloud at that thought.

I turn from the mirror and notice the announcer is gone. I wonder what her name is and look back into the mirror. I never needed Danaejah, or anyone else. Singing alone allowed me to make an accomplishment of my own. It doesn't matter if I made a mistake or not. I did well on my own. I guess I’ll be known as the girl who peed on herself, and the girl with the great voice.

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