Nairi Khachatourian

That Time of the Year

After ten years of waiting, the time finally came. I got in line and
was backstage about ready to collapse. I could feel my insides shaking
like bats flapping around. I felt as though there was a ton of weights
on my shoulders. Standing backstage my brain drew a blank; I didn’t
remember one single step from my dance. I couldn’t cry because my heavy
stage make-up would drip down my face. So the only thing I could do was
panic and try to breathe in deeply as my friends made me seem like I
was a woman in labor by repeating “hee-hee-hooo, hee-hee-hooo…”

Once the music started everything else stopped and I knew that
everything would be all right from that moment on. I forgot about the
audience, the classmates, the teacher, the family, the pressure, the
expectations, the nerves; everything just went away. My muscles
tightened. I started to dance and I was perfect. I couldn’t see the
audience or my classmates, I couldn’t hear the music, I couldn’t even
feel myself dancing, but I trusted that I was. Now the bats in my
stomach were replaced by angels. I felt beautiful and heavenly, not
caring or even remembering the pressure that was being put on me and
the judgments that were being made by everyone. I felt as light as a
feather. Every movement, every gesture, and every facial expression was
right on time, done exactly the way it was supposed to be done. At the
end of the performance I snapped back to reality, both the bats and the
angels had disappeared and I was relieved, but I couldn’t wait until
the next performance when they all came back.


Copyright 2002-2006 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2006 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.