ďIt has to be perfect.Ē
My momís voice echoes through my head as I get ready to step onstage. I
am performing in our school talent show tonight with my two friends:
Rachel and Karina. We huddle together in the center and hold a hushed
conference, whispering and reassuring each other. We look like a
football team, except dressed in sparkles and sequins instead of sweaty
uniforms. Finally, we break up, each of us standing separate in our
beginning positions. Our flashing jelly rings start lighting up as we
turn them in one at a time. Hands trembling, legs quivering, I prepare
myself. I can do this. I think back to endless days practicing. Spending
hours learning the motions. It all led up to this.
The curtain parts. Iím blinded by the bright lights glaring harshly down
at me. The crowd, a lion, roars at us, hungry for a good show. The cold
linoleum under my bare feet stings my toes. I feel alone, afraid, and
abandoned up onstage. Iím paralyzed with fear.
Suddenly the music begins. I force myself to start moving to the rhythm,
my motions choppy and robotic. Arms swinging, legs moving, I count out
the beats of the familiar music. My movements become fluid and
mellifluous. The smile comes naturally. The audience fades. Itís just me
and the music right now.
Iím so caught up in the moment my arm flies out of place - Iím in the
wrong position. I stop dancing momentarily. Did anyone notice? I ask
myself. Did anyone see? My mom, our choreographer, smiles and flashes me
the ďOKĒ sign. I take a deep breath and focus again.
After what seems like only a second, the music stops. Becoming statues,
we finish in our ending poses. The audience roars again, but this time
with applause and approval. The lights are no longer glaring and are now
shining down at us. I smile wide, and the audience refocuses into view.
Later that night, as I watch our videotape, I see my reflection like in
a mirror. I see my rhythmic movements guiding myself into the right
positions. I see my panicked face at the apex of the dance, knowing I
had made a mistake. I see my wide grin at the end, knowing that I had
done it. It definitely wasn't perfect. But really, nothing ever is.
There will always be bumps. Creases. Wrinkles. Rips. Nothing is ever
completely perfect, but we did the next best thing.