Chapter One

Don't wish it away
Don't look at it like it's forever
Between you and me I could honestly say
That things can only get better

When I arrived home, my father was on the telephone, and my mother who had been up for hours, like myself, was milling around the kitchen, drinking a cup of Bewley’s Irish tea. This was the second half of my mornings, when I would come home and tell my parents about my practice time. What I worked on, what I’d noticed, if I’d come up with anything new.  “Hi Sweetie,” my dad said holding the receiver slightly away from his mouth as he greeted me.

My mother turned around and smiled.  “How was it today?” she asked, sipping from her favorite mug.

I dropped my bag on the floor in the hallway and waltzed into the kitchen peeling off my shoes and pulling back my tights again as I leaned against the kitchen counter.

“It was alright. I worked on that new piece of the set for a while. I  think I finally got it.” I said.

My mother nodded happily.  “Good, good, the and a one two three down and a one two double back part?”  she asked putting her mug down.

“Yeah, like this right?” I asked showing her. She cocked her head to the side, and asked me to try it again.

“I think that’s it.” she nodded picking her mug back up and patting me on the shoulder.

“All that work pays off doesn’t it?” my dad said turn around in his chair at the table.

“Sure does dad...who are you talking to?” I asked. He nodded, “I’m talking to your Uncle Taylor, wanna say hello quickly?” he asked holding out the phone to me.

“Sure.” I answered taking the phone from his outstretched hand.

“Hey Uncle Tay!” I said happily.

“Heeeey, Tiny Dancer.” he said laughing. When I was younger he gave me the nickname Tiny Dancer, and it pretty much stuck within the family at least.  “What are you up to this morning?” he asked.

“Well, I just got home from the studio, so I was going to take a shower in a bit.”

“Right, right, the dance studio not the recording studio?” he asked sounding more like my father.

“Nope, not today. You sound like Dad. ‘you know you should really come into my studio with me one day’.” I imitated my father who pretended to look hurt. Taylor laughed.

“Yeah, that’s Zac for you. You really should though, take him up on that offer before he changes his mind.” I sighed, I hated talking about going into the studio with my dad, I didn’t really want to, but I ended up going with him and of course, he’d make me go and sing something. I tried changing the subject.

“So, how’s LA?” My Uncle Taylor had moved out to Los Angeles a while back, and I desperately wanted to go there too. I had only been a few times, to visit him for a few days at a time. My dad and my Uncle Isaac had decided to stay in Tulsa, so here I was, stuck in the Sooner State.  Sure, there were some really good points to living here, I got to see my grandparents and my cousins a lot more often than some of my friends did. We were a really close family, which was great, but at the same time, I wished I could just go to California.

“It’s pretty good here, nice and warm, know, typical LA weather.  Very nice. You’d enjoy it. The beaches have been nice too, pretty good waves.”

“Good for surfing?” I asked.

“Certainly are.” he said, I could just see him smiling, looking out his kitchen window at the beach.

“I’ll bet Evan is really happy about that,” I sad referring to his my cousin. “I bet he spends all day at the beach now. Lots of cute boys there now Uncle Tay?” he started laughing.

“According to Evan and his sister, there are, and I quote, ‘lots of hot bodies’ this year.” I laughed.

“Then I’m going to have to come and visit sometime soon.” I said.

“Yes, indeed you will, Evan and Vi miss you. We’ll work something out with your dad for later this summer. Maybe fourth of July again, we can all go to the fireworks on the beach.”  I told him I loved the idea and gave the phone  back to my father.

As I headed up the stairs to take a shower, my mom asked if I had thought anymore about the auditions she had told me about last week. I told her I  had, but I still wanted more time.

“Alright honey, but remember, the first one is in two weeks, I have to know soon so we can get your pictures and resume updated.” I just nodded, and she handed my dance bag to me shaking her head.

“How many times do I have to tell you,”

“Don’t leave the bag in the hallway.” I finished her sentence.

“Brenna, don’t get smart.” she swatted at me as I took the bag from her.

I dropped my bag onto my bed and sifted my way through the mess that had collected in the center of the room. I should really clean this sometime soon I thought as I grabbed a towel and headed for the bathroom. The vanity of my bathroom was littered with moleskin and band-aid wrappers, and bits of dried up New Skin from the mornings I was in a rush and spilled the liquid bandage all over the counter. My mom would kill me if she saw this mess. I made another mental note, clean room and bathroom before Mom sees.

I’ve noticed that one of the best places to do your thinking is in the shower. I do most of my thinking there. I find my shower very
comforting.  When we bought the house we live in now, my bathroom had last been remodeled in the 1950s, and because of this, it has the greatest tile work. My floors are green and white checkerboard patterned, and the walls have yellow and aqua tiles on them.  I was staring at the tiles in the shower, thinking about what my mom had said about the auditions. It was true, I needed to make a decision about them, and it’d be foolish of me to forgo them. I could end up doing a show which would be a lot of fun, but did I really want to spend the rest of my life a slave to dancing?

If I were to be a dancer for the rest of my life, really, my life would be over by the time I was thirty something, forty at best. Such is the curse of the poetry of the soul. It rips you to shreds and then leaves you to blow away in the wind. Your muscles, your joints, tendons, bones. Everything fades away until your body simply stops working, and then, you’re through.  What kind of career is that?  That’s if you don’t get injured along the way, that’s if you’re lucky.  So far, I had been spared in the injury department.  I got away with slight tendonitis, and one sprain. The tendonitis from the Irish dancing since there’s so much pressure being placed on your
ankles and knees. The doctor told me I had been very lucky that I was also doing ballet since it relieved a bit of the stress.

I wondered, could I honestly dance the way I needed to dance to be in those shows? Could I do that all day, everyday for months at a time? My mind was clouded with doubts as the steam rose around me in the bathroom. I wiped off a circle of precipitation on the mirror and began to dry my hair, still pondering the whole issue of dance and companies and shows. I don’t know how long I stood there with the hair dryer buzzing but the phone finally jarred me back into reality, and I had to sprint across my room, hurdling over
laundry baskets and then, tripping over my dance bag which had somehow ended up on the floor to answer the phone.