If You Let Me Inside Your World
It was 7:30am. The annoying buzz of my alarm clock made its way into my dream, causing it to once again wake me up before it could end. I somehow managed to drag myself out from under my covers and make my way down the hall to the bathroom. As the water for my shower heated up, I took a good look at myself in the mirror. I let out a funny face when I inspected the hot mess on top of my head.
Then my mind started to wonder as my lips parted up to a smile.
Today was the big day.
I’ve been rehearsing nonstop for the past 3 months, preparing for today’s workshop.
Dance was my everything. It was my first love and I could never imagine giving it up or trading it in for anything else. People ask me all the time how I first started out. I wish I could tell them an amazing story, about a 10 year old girl at her first ballet. A girl who watched so diligently as the ballerina’s floated across the stage, making 50 fuettes look effortlessly. I wish I could have been that girl who turned to her mother and whispered, “I want to be a ballerina.” But I wasn’t. I didn’t really have a story. I guess when I was little, I was shy. So on my 3rd birthday, my mother marched into the local dance studio and signed me up. Not only did it help me overcome being shy, but it turned into a 14 year obsession. I eat, breath, sleep dance. And today I was finally able to perform in my first workshop.
Every year the juniors and seniors from our studio take a trip to downtown Chicago to take part in Juilliard’s annual ‘Dancing through Life’ workshop. It’s where students from all over come to showcase their talent. And the audience is filled with people who can change your life. Seniors are offered scholarship’s or jobs after high school and Junior’s show a promising return for next year’s show.
I was ready to show the world what I got, but first…a shower.
By the time I got out, I was already running late. I had a dozen missed calls from Mindy to make sure I didn’t over sleep as I did too often.
“Hey you called?”
“Yeah I just wanted to make sure you actually set your alarm clock today.” She said Teasing.
“Don’t worry, I did! But thanks for checking. You’re picking me up right?” I asked.
“Yeah I’m leaving here in an hour. Please be ready when I get there. For somebody who’s afraid of being late to places, you sure have horrible time management skills!”
“Oh shut up, I’ll see you in a bit!”
I hung up the phone before she could say anymore witty remarks.
Mindy was my best friend. Now, I know how much people just throw the word ‘best friend’ around. But when I say Mindy is my best friend, you better believe I literally mean she is the best of all my friends.
Me and Mindy have been ‘Me and Mindy’ since, well since the beginning.
One day in dance class, she turned left when I turned right. And we’ve nearly been attached at the hip ever since.
I walked across my room to my dresser and opened the top drawer. I pulled out my tights and grabbed a pair of leggings. In my closet I found my leotard and my dance shorts would pop up eventually.
I reached under my bed to grab a small long box that read “Bloch” along the side. I pulled out my brand new Pointe shoes and laid the unsewn ribbons off the side.
It is unheard of for a dancer to go right up on new shoes. It was practically like foot suicide, especially if it’s for a performance. You had to make sure that they are properly prepared and broken in. I learned that lesson during my first year I was put on Pointe.
But I didn’t have any choice. The wooden block in my other shoes broke last week, and not performing this weekend just was not an option.
I pulled out the sewing kit from my side drawer and began to attach the ribbons, careful not to prick myself with the needle. After that, I took my shoes outside to the drive way. I sat down on the warm pavement and began to pound the shoe over and over again on the cement. It was the only thing hard enough to soften the block. I rubbed the platform against the rough texture of the drive to help create the traction that I would need to not fall. If anyone was to drive by, believe me, I looked like a nut.
By the time I got back in the house, my hair had finally dried enough to pull it back and wrapped it around into a bun. After a few bobby pins to secure its hold, I was finally ready…and I was actually early for once. I ran down the stairs and followed sweet scents that lead me into the kitchen.
“Mmm, cinnamon rolls! Morning mother, morning dad.” I said as hugged each of them.
“Good morning daughter.” They both said in perfect unison.
“So are you nervous?” My mother asked.
“Mom!” I exclaimed. “I wasn’t until you said something.”
“W ell you shouldn’t be, you’re a beautiful dancer. And isn’t next year the year that really counts?.”
I rolled my eyes as I grabbed myself a roll off the cookie sheet and sat at the table with them, “You’re my mother. It’s your job to say things like that. And if anything it’s your junior show that’s more important. If somebody likes my dancing, they’ll come back next to offer me a scholarship and spot in a company!”
“Well either way, you’ll do great. Oh and before you get comfortable, Mindy’s in the driveway, she honked for you about 5 minutes ago.”
I jumped up out of my seat, leaving my breakfast right where it was and grabbed my bags.
“What! I thought I was running early!” I screamed. “Bye mom, bye dad!”
“BREAK A LEG” they said, and once again, in unison.
I ran out to the end of the driveway where I saw Mindy sitting in her car, looking a little less than pleased. She threw up her arms, pretending to point to a watch while I shouted out “I’m sorry”.
I plopped my bags in her back seat and hopped in.
“Ew, you actually like this teeny bopper they call a pop singer?” I said, making fun of her music selection she had playing through the speakers.
“His name is Justin Bieber thank you very much, and maybe if you’d use the internet here and there instead of stalking Max’s Facebook all the time, you’d know that Justin doesn’t look like a girl anymore. He finally hit puberty, and my oh my, that boy has been blessed with good looks!”
I raised my up onto the dash and rolled my simultaneously. “Okay, first off, I’m not ‘stalking’ his profile. I just go on it from time to time to see if he and Megan broke up yet.”
“You really should try and get over him. It’s been months since you two broke up. Sooner or later you’ll find another guy and Max won’t be nothing but a name to you.” Mindy said.
Yeah right, I thought to myself. Coming from a small town just outside of the city, you’ve either dated everyone there is to date, or you’re related to them. Let’s face it; if I even plan on having a real life, I needed to get the hell out of Appledale, and fast!
After sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the highway, we finally made our way downtown and found decent parking a few blocks away from the theater. My bag was heavy, filled with my make-up, bottles of hairspray, and probably 6 pairs of shoes, one for every style of dance I did.
When we arrived inside, we found our way backstage and noticed some of the other girls from our studio had already been there.
“So do you think anyone’s going to get recognized tonight?” Mindy whispered as she leaned into my shoulder.”
I finished applying my cherry red lipstick before shrugging my shoulder’s, “I sure hope so, it’s been 2 years since anybody from our studio’s been offered anything out of high school.”
“Rumor has it, someone’s already contact Hailey with a scholarship offer after she graduates next year and they’re coming here to watch her perform.” Mindy clued me in.
“Really? Better keep your fingers crossed for her then!”
“Appledale School of Dance, 5 minutes till curtain.”
All of us girls stood up and got into a circle. We crossed our arms and bowed our head as our teacher lead in a prayer. And before heading out onto the stage, we gave each other one final squeeze.
When the workshop was all said and done, all the participants stayed around for the possible chance to meet somebody who could soon change their life. I waited and waited, but soon lost hope. I looked over my shoulder and noticed both Hailey and Mindy talking to someone, so I picked up my bag and texted Mindy that I would meet her back at the car.
The sun was beginning to set as I was walking the streets of Chicago. For some reason, the hairs on the back of my neck began to tingle, giving me an eerie feeling that somebody was following me. But when I turned around, nobody was in sight. I took a few more steps, when I turned around again. I don’t know what it was that cause me to turn, but I did. And this time someone was there. I started taking faster steps, uping my pace. I finally got back to the car and started digging around my bag looking for Mindy’s car keys. I searched faster when I could hear footsteps coming up behind me. Found them!
But I pulled them out so fast I flung them right out of my hands and onto the ground. I bent down to pick them up but when I stood back up, my mystery follower was standing right in front of me.
“Excuse me, miss?” he asked.
“Sorry, I’m in a big hurry. A REAL big hurry!” I stuttered as I opened the door.
“Wait!” He exclaimed. He had grabbed my arm by the elbow and turned me around. I squeezed my eyes closed as I held the keys tight in my hand and whispered “please don’t hurt me.”
“Hurt you?” He laughed. “No. My name is Scooter Braun. There’s something I’d like to talk to you about.”
I opened my eyes to see he finally let go of my arm. He was wearing a suite and held out a business card.
I apologetically smiled as I took the card from his hand. “Hi. I’m Christina.”