For this week’s memoir prompt, we’re going to let narrative take a backseat. Choose a moment from your personal history and mine it for sensory detail. Describe it to us in rich, evocative details. Let us breath the air, hear the heartbeat, the songs, feel the fabric and the touch of that moment.
Curtain CallIt is so dark I’m afraid I’ll fall into the orchestra pit. Someone shines a flashlight from the wings to help me find center stage. My arms are covered in goose bumps and my skimpy costume is itchy where the netting is stitched to the satin. My heart is pounding like it does when I take a math test or when I go down a hill too fast on my bike.
The lights come up and warm me. I can see the stage now—I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. The audience is still in darkness so I cannot see their faces, only the shapes of the people in the first row. My family is out there somewhere but I can’t tell where. I remind myself to smile.
The music begins. It’s much louder than when I dance in my living room. I move to the rhythm as I’ve done a thousand times at home—standing on my toes and stretching out my arms. My racing heart begins to slow as I dance. I don’t have to force myself to smile any more. I have never felt so happy as I do at this moment. I don’t care any more that the costume is itchy. It’s black and shiny and trimmed with red sequins and white feathers.
Too soon the song is over. The invisible audience claps. I love the sound. I curtsy deeply over the dusty stage and run into the wings. I am seven years old and this is my first curtain call.
I'm sure any seven-year-old girl these days would consider this a very odd song choice for a dance recital. But it was "Creative Movement" class in the 70's and I loved it.