…In the meantime, as I create my poetry extravaganza, here’s a little something. For my sister-in-law Christi’s blog challenge, I wrote a little story. The first paragraph was supplied already, then I wrote the rest.
I tried a different method this time. I challenged myself to write in somewhat of a stream of consciousness…I didn’t plan ahead of time where the story would go. I also didn’t edit much. It was an exercise in seeing where my imagination traipsed off to–pretty, um, interesting results! =) I gave myself about 30-40 minutes total to write it. (And for those of you who may ask– yes, I am still working on my other story.)
Have a great weekend. Here you go…
She rolled over and felt the tickle of sunlight roll over her eyelashes as it peeked through her polka dot organza curtains. With a groan, Cassie opened one eyelid hoping that it was just a cruel trick, but no, the sun was creeping up over the horizon. The day was going to happen whether she was ready for it or not. Her eyes fell on the black dress that she and her mother had set out the night before and a wave of panic spread through her. How had she gotten here?
It had actually begun on a day that had started a lot like this one just two years before….
On that day Cassie had stumbled to her job at the family business, still half asleep. She glanced down and straightened her black dress as she stepped in the back door to the funeral home. Howzenhofferschmidt Family Funeral Home had been in her family for three generations. It was an institution—albeit a grim one—in their robust-sized hometown. Cassie assumed her usual position at the office manager’s desk. She sighed. How long can I stay in this job? she wondered. I love my family, and even this work sometimes, but I can’t wait to get out. I think it’s time that I took steps toward my dream, she resolved. Besides, Howzenhofferschmidt would be a great opera singer’s last name. She smiled to herself.
For consolation she flipped on the office sound system, volume turned way down. The quiet opera music lilted its way to her ears. She daydreamed that she was onstage singing an aria, just as she’d dreamed since she was seven. She shut out the world as activity around her picked up. Three other family members went about their business in the office.
Fast forward two years…Cassie’s voice training at the nearby university begins to pay off. She has even made friends with some performers in her city’s opera company. March 15th: Today was the day she would audition! Nerves and excitement intertwined and enveloped her as she panicked briefly, then rose and got ready. Although not at all glamorous, her black funeral home dress would have to do double duty as a mandatory black audition dress.
Hours later, she took a deep breath and strode confidently on stage. All of her daydreaming and hard work came down to this moment. She willed her timid dignity to make her taller than her five foot four frame.
Three judges presided behind a table perched in the first two rows of seats in the audience. She looked to them and waited. The judge on the end merely nodded slightly to her to begin. Cassie turned her head and looked at the pianist, who launched into the introduction. The time came for her entrance. Cassie took a deep breath, and…belted out something unexpected. “Hey, did you hear the one about the penguin going to the bar?” The music stopped like a train wreck. All eyes stared at her. No one surpassed her own surprise. Where in the world had that come from? Terror gripped her and twisted her face. “I–I’m so sorry—I don’t know what happened. Please let me try again,” she pleaded.
The pianist began again, this time peering curiously around the piano at Cassie. She cleared her throat and prepared to deliver the first note. Instead, out came, “Knock, knock!” Silence.
Sweat trickled down her spine. She tried again, only to blurt out a George Burns impersonation. Time after time she attempted, only to fill an agonizing three hours with impromptu opera-comedy before an unappreciative audience. What was wrong with her?
Finally, she fled the stage and escaped out the side door. Failure crushed her. Only when she landed on the safety of her own bed did she quit shaking and began weeping. Darkness fell and tucked her in for the night, tears baptizing her face.
Too quickly, dawn again found her bedroom window. She rolled over and stretched, yesterday’s horror hanging over her. Sleepy eyes again fell on her black dress, laid out neatly. Wait a minute, she thought. I fell asleep in that dress. Puzzlement crinkled her forehead.
She sat up and looked at the calendar on her humming computer screen. March 15th. …It had all been a dream! Relief made her as light as a feather. Her audition would take place today! She chuckled at herself as she headed to the bathroom, talking to herself. “You’re a funny dame,” came her raspy, George Burns-sounding voice. Cassie gasped in surprise and stared, big eyed, at her reflection in the mirror.