What a lovely story, makes me think of the bond between my mother and my daughter. Mom lived to be 93, but the bond was there between a teenager and a lively old lady. Love knows no boundaries.
|She could hear the quiet mumbling of the crowd on the other side of the thick velvet curtain. Butterflies flittered madly in her stomach. The long white dress she wore felt constrictive; her ballet slippers were too tight. Was that a run in her thin white stockings? Shouldn’t someone check her hair?
The feedback over the speakers meant the Master of Ceremonies was about to address the crowd. It would be any minute now. The man with the headset was fervently motioning to her. Time to move out on the stage.
“Oh my God,” she thought. “Am I ready?” Her hands started to sweat as she took her mark on the cold wooden stage, her heart beating faster than ever before. “Ok,” she thought. “Left foot back, right foot out. Twist at the hips, hands behind you. Now just wait for the music.” Panic began to rise up inside. “What do I…what’s my first move? Oh, no…I’ve forgotten everything!” She looks back off stage, desperately wanting someone to call her back. “I shouldn’t be here! I’m not ready.” Her brain demanded.
The curtains began to open and the crowd applauded. Fear quickly stole across her face. As the curtains parted, she saw her grandmother sitting in the front row. Her old body was small and frail, but the love and pride emanating from that tiny form filled the auditorium. She could hear her soft voice in her head…
“Sheryl.” Her grandmother stated. “The mailman just came and brought you something.”
Sheryl had been in the living room in front of the TV. However, she wasn’t like most kids her age, laying on the couch, eating chips and watching cartoons. No, Sheryl had pushed all the furniture to the walls and the small 19-inch television was replaying the American Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” for the thousandth time. The VHS tape, recorded years ago from a PBS Special, was worn and tracking lines filled the screen. Sheryl, barefoot and wearing her sweat pants and tank top, mimicked every move Gelsey Kirkland made, the perfect Clara to Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Prince.
“Sheryl!” the old voice repeated. “I really think you wanna see this.”
“What!” Sheryl responded as she hit the pause button on the old VCR. The old woman handed a large off-white envelope to the young girl. The words “The Julliard School” embossed in the top left corner. Sheryl’s heart dropped as quickly as Sheryl fell to the couch. “Gran!” a mixture of fear and excitement was heard in her voice. “This is it. I…” she paused to catch her breath. “I don’t know if I’m ready to open it.”
“Sweetheart, no matter what is written in that letter, you know that you’ve made me so proud. Your mother, looking down from heaven, is proud of you, too.”
Sheryl slowly tore open the envelope and removed the letter. She glanced one last time to her grandmother and began to read out loud. “Dear Miss Price. After reviewing your audition tape, we are pleased to inform you…” She starred in disbelief as her grandmother began to dance and scream. “My baby’s going to Julliard! My baby’s going to Julliard!”
“Gran!” Sheryl interrupted. “That ain’t all. It says here I’ve got a full scholarship!” Tears began to flow from two sets of eyes as they joyously hugged each other.
“Just remember me when you’re famous.” Her grandmother laughed.
“Gran, I’ll remember you forever!”
It took seeing that old weathered face smiling from the front row to remember. And it took her back when she was standing on an old community stage, a borrowed camcorder sitting to the side, barefoot and dressed in her tank top and sweat pants, hoping the tape would be good enough to mail to Julliard.
Outside on the marquee, it read “The American Ballet presents 'The Nutcracker' – introducing Sheryl Price as Clara”. But she was only performing for one person in tonight’s sell-out crowd. A tiny smile graced her lips as a tear rolled down her cheek.
The music began and Sheryl turned, her arms went into the air and she danced.
Comments 1 to 11 of 11
Comments 1 to 11 of 11