Don't Give Up
Atlanta, Georgia - International Business
She studied the contents of the small closet. Really, there was not much
from which to choose. She owned only one dress which would be
appropriate for her appointment; the short-sleeved, navy blue Harlena
item with white trim around the collar and hemline. She clearly
remembered the day she bought it; a whole paycheck blown. Sixty-five
That was two years ago and she had
not dared repeat the extravagance; in fact, it was the last dress she
had bought in over two years. The garment was now a little frayed, but
last night she had done a nice touch-up job with needle and thread. She
slipped it over her head and stood before the cracked mirror, critically
surveying herself. A strand of fake pearls, a long-ago birthday gift
from a former admirer encircled her long neck.
“Well, Nita” she said to her
reflection. This is about the best you can do, so, girl-child, go out
there and knock ‘em dead.”
She arrived at the studio at 11:25am.
It had been quite a while since she had auditioned for a musical, but
she had nothing to lose. The rent was due, the bill collectors were
calling, and her seven-month-old daughter, Renai, was crying for food.
Everyone stared at her as she walked through the backstage entrance.
There were about seventy-five of the most beautiful women she had ever
seen standing around warming up and practicing before the audition
began. Minutes after her arrival the door opened and slammed shut.
Silence filled the room. A tall, lanky man dressed in tight black
leather pants, a black buttoned-up shirt, and a black beret sternly
introduced himself and began demonstrating the expected routine along
with the judging criteria. Thirty-five minutes had passed and suddenly
Nita heard her name, ‘Anita Wells’. Her heart raced. She was bursting
with fear and felt an untimely urge to use the ladies facilities. The
previous performances were extraordinary. Why am I here, she solemnly
asked herself, these girls obviously have way more experience than I’ll
Her name had been called and it was
too late to back out of it now. She took a deep breath and entered stage
right. She opened her mouth to produce the first note, a high pitched, ‘eeeeee’.
She panicked and began to tremble. She tried again; her voice cracked.
She stood on the stage terrified.
“You can do this Nita, get it
together”, she encouraged herself. She finished her solo, walked off the
stage and did not stop until she reached her run-down apartment. She
opened the door to find Renai on the floor playing with her blocks. She
swooped up her daughter and embraced her tightly.
“I love you so much”, she whispered
to Renai, who responded with innocent giggles.
“How’s the try-out?” Her neighbor
inquired as she returned from the kitchen with a juice bottle for Renai.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“It couldn’t have been that bad. You
have a beautiful voice. You’re perfect for the part.”
Nita remained silent. She continued to caress her daughter as if no one
else were present. The telephone rang.
“Tell ‘em I’m not here.” Nita
instructed her neighbor.
“Hello. Who’s calling? Sure, she’s
right here. One moment please.”
Nita looked at her neighbor with disgust.
“It’s the casting director of the
Nita put Renai on her hip and took the phone with a look of uncertainty.
“Yes, this is she. I’m sorry I wasn’t
thinking clearly. I had no intentions of being rude…. Are you sure? Why,
why thank you so much. Yes, yes I’ll be there, eight o’clock sharp.
Thank you so much. Good-bye!” Nita turned to her neighbor, “He wants me
to co-star in the play. He said anyone who could mess up that bad and
still pull themself together definitely has talent.”
“Well, I guess that’s a good thing,”
her neighbor replied as she congratulated her friend with a hug. “Now
you can breathe again, everything gon’ be alright.”
“Everything gon’ be alright,” Nita
repeated with a sigh if relief. She kissed Renai. “Everything’s gon’ be