The night of the big Radio City performance arrived. You could sense the excitement in the air. This was very big news at school and that is all anyone was talking about.
Sandy could not help but be overjoyed. “Mia I am so excited!”
“Oh, I know, Sandy.”
“No, you don’t understand, Mia.”
I was confused. “What do you mean?”
“Mia, I saw the list of who is being given the chance to perform tonight.”
My jaw dropped. “You did? How?”
“Our wonderful boss told me.”
My frowned turned into a smile. “Nice.”
She leaned toward me slightly. “Mia, you are on the list.”
No way! I can’t help but laugh. “Sure, Sandy.”
She shook her head, and her tone of voice got serious. “Mia, I am not joking.”
“Wow! So, this is true?”
“I may dance tonight?”
She nodded. “Yes, Mia.”
“Oh, Sandy!” Tears filled my eyes, “Wow, this is truly a dream come true.”
I felt my heart racing. I could not believe the news.
She smiled. “Oh, I know, Mia.”
“Even though I still don’t know if I am the one, I am honored to even be able to be there.”
Still, Sandy had mentioned it was rare for a sophomore to be chosen to dance. “Do you think I have a chance?”
“Yes, you do, Mia. You honestly do. I know it is rare, but I have seen you dance. There’s nobody better. I hope they pick you.”
“Thanks, Sandy. So, when will I know?”
She shrugged. “They should call you soon.”
“Well, I am hopeful, but as I said, just to be on the list is okay with me too.”
“Well, I believe you will be chosen to dance, Mia.”
“Thanks, my friend.”
I can’t help but grin from ear to ear. This is an opportunity that means so much.
Later in the day, as we begin picking out our outfits, I get a call on my cell phone. I don’t want to seem anxious, so I let it ring twice. I don’t even look to see who’s calling.
“Yes, hello. Mia here.”
“Good, Mia, it’s you,” says Alona Neal.
“I just wanted to call and congratulate you on being selected as the one who will dance tonight.”
What did she just say? It’s too good to be true, so I just stay quiet.
“Mia, are you there?”
“Yes, Alona. I’m here.”
“Congratulations. You are the first sophomore we have chosen in about 7 years now.”
I can’t keep the squeal inside. “Wow. Thank you! Thank you!”
She laughed. “Okay, Mia. Well, see you tonight, and I know you will do an amazing job.”
“Yes, Alona. Thank you so much!”
Sandy comes up behind me then. “Mia, I heard!”
I turned to Sandy. “I got it!”
She let out a big shout. “Oh, Mia, congrats!”
“I’m still in shock.”
“So happy for you Mia.”
After we jumped up and down for about 5 minutes, I began panicking. “Ah, Sandy, what dance am I going to do?”
“Mia, when you get to Radio City, Alona will let you know all that.”
“Don’t worry it will all be fine.”
When we arrived at the Radio City Festival, I almost jumped out of my skin with excitement. The only thing missing was my parents. But with the late noticed it was hard for them to get the time out. Still, I’m grateful for the chance to perform tonight.
We run into Alona Neal and she directed us to the back of the stage, where everyone is waiting.
“Hey, Mia. So, are you nervous?”
I nodded. “Yes, I am.”
“Well, just took a deep breath. You are going to be so amazing.”
I smiled. “Thank you.”
“You should feel proud that all your hard work and dedication is paying off.”
“Okay. For your dance tonight, I thought you should do your contemporary solo.”
That’s the dance I prepared as a tribute to Leo. The one that expressed how I felt when I lost him.
Alona studied my face. “Mia, you good with that?”
I held back my tears. ” Yes, I am okay with it.”
I wanted to make sure to give all of this dance my everything. Inside the wardrobe room, I mentally prepared myself for what is to come. I had plenty of time since I was not performing until the end.
Meanwhile, Sandy was preparing her jazz routine with her group, and then she had to practice her ballet dance with her dance partner Dylan. It’s lovely to see everyone working together.
Surprisingly, Miranda seems to be in a much better mood. “Hey. Congrats, Gerard,” she says.
“Thank you, Miranda.”
She walked away, and a feeling of warmth and happiness flooded my body. Maybe Miranda’s not so bad after all. Still, I wish my family and my friends back home could have been here.
“Hey, Mia,” Henry’s voice cuts through my thoughts of home.
I jumped. “Henry. Hey.”
“Did not mean to startle you Mia, but I understand congratulations are in order.”
“You must be so happy.”
I nod. “Yes, I am.”
Then he noticed the sadness on my face. “What’s the matter?”
“Well, since they barely told me today, I didn’t have a chance to tell my parents.”
“Oh, I see. Well, I can record it for you on my phone so you can send it to them.”
I practically jumped out of my chair. “Oh, would you?”
He nodded. “Yes, I can do that.”
He gave me a look that seemed so familiar. “Don’t mention it, luv.”
For a brief moment, I was a bit caught up within his smile. Then once the music was playing behind me I knew it was time to get started.
“Thank you again, Henry.”
“It’s my pleasure, Mia.”
Sandy called out from the wings. “Mia, it is time for us to all get ready.”
I nodded and waved goodbye to Henry. “Coming, Sandy.”
Dean Array came out and introduced the staff and the performers, and then we heard the massive applause. The scene at Radio City was so amazing with all the lights shining brightly as everyone made their way to the stage.
Alona Neal headed things up by dancing the first few dances with her dancers. Then, everyone else lined up to perform. I’m so happy when it’s Sandy’s turn. She was amazing. Her jazz routine is so well choreographed, not to mention her ballet routine. All the dancers do so well. I was proud to be a part of it all.
“Okay,” Alona finally announced. “Now for our final performance, we have selected a dancer who has set a precedent since she began here a year ago. She is only a sophomore, but her contemporary solo is one that could not be overlooked. Without further ado, we present Mia Gerard.”
I walked out on the stage and closed my eyes, and then the music started. All I could think about was Leo. Oh, please guide me, Leo. I danced, and I saw him—his smile, his greenish eyes. All of him. I pictured us dancing together as the song played.
You’re gone now, but I am here, and I miss you.
Then the music stopped, and I almost didn’t notice it. I looked into the audience and saw so many people drying their tears. And then the applause began. “Bravo, Mia. Bravo!”
“Way to go!” cried Sandy.
“Thank you all,” I said and walked offstage. I’m overcome with emotions and put a hand to my chest to slow down my heartbeat and my breathing.
Dean Array walks up to me. “What a lovely performance, Ms. Gerard.”
I nodded. “Thank you.”
“I am sure he was very proud of you.”
Tears welled up in my eyes, and I don’t even bother to wipe them away. “Thank you, Dean Array.” This night is so magical. I have no more words. I was just grateful I was given this opportunity.
The crowd dissipates finally, and I see Sandy and Henry waiting for me.
“Hey. Let’s go out to Dreams and celebrate,” says Sandy.
I nod. “Sure, Sandy.”
“Mia, you should feel proud. I got it all on video, and I will send you a copy so you can send it back home.”
“Wow Mia that was just an exceptional performance!” called out Sandy.
“Yes Mia clearly this person was special!” echoed Henry.
Sandy placed an arm around each of us and lead us toward the door. “Come on, guys.”
As we walked toward the train towards the Dream Cafe I am grateful for tonight.
Thank you, Leo. Thank you, Lord.