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Monday, April 27, 2015

"W" is for "Waiting"

Welcome to the last week of April and the A-Z Challenge!

My theme revolves around the soon-to-be published memoir, REVIVAL, which I wrote for former professional opera singer, Donald Braswell.

Donald is about to sing in front of the judges -- and the live audience -- at America's Got Talent...but needs to wait until the horse in front of him has its own audition...

"W" is for "Waiting"

 …The cowboy and his four-legged partner last all of about twenty seconds before the boos and catcalls overwhelm them. The buzzers ring out. Game over. I’m sick for them—all that effort. What would the judges think of me?

 I’m next. Before every performance, there’s always a moment when I take a step inward and eliminate outside distractions. I rest my shoulder against something hard and close my eyes to initiate a no-talk zone. Dormant feelings awaken and roll over me. As the crowd howls at the big X, I take deep, long breaths as adrenalin flows under fresh goose bumps.

With a quiet strength, I clench my fist along the side of my leg. As always, the wait makes me nervous. Some call me aloof, but to prep and transform myself into the requisite role, I need this solitude, certainly for today. Even with all my years of experience, I’ve never performed in a live television event.

Someone bumps me and a half-apology splutters to death in the rushed air. The sometimes profane shouts increase as the stage is readied for me. It’s close. I draw strength from a battered but unbroken faith. Time for some Carpe Diem.

Eyes closed, head bowed, I prep for the signal, ready to leave everything out on the stage. No shame, and absolutely no regrets. This is my audition, but the glory goes to You, Lord.

My sense of smell is suddenly assaulted with the smell of fresh manure. Confused, I open and shade my eyes as harried crew members hustle on stage to clean several large, steaming dollops of fresh horse poop.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who decided to leave it all out there.

The adrenalin seeps away, but the humor of the situation prevents a new attack of the nerves. My kindred spirit is a horse! The removal of the large deposit is easy fodder for the restless audience. The noise grows to large, incoming waves of intense negativity, but I refocus with one deep breath.

I’ve lost one promising career due to a dumb mistake. Now, I’m about to take the biggest leap of faith in my forty-five-year existence, but I won’t be alone. If Daniel can walk into the den of lions, I can walk out onto this stage. One final time, I bow my head. The crowd noise washes over me like waves on an uncovered rock.

Lord, please grant me the strength to get through this performance, and if it’s your will, allow my voice to touch and inspire others. At the very least, Lord, I pray that I’ll be good enough to make my three girls and their Mom proud. Amen.

An excited-looking stagehand responding to a squawk offers me a thumbs up and guides me toward the one and only Jerry Springer.

“How are you feeling?” asks Springer, who shakes my hand while I fight an insane urge to shout his name three times.

“Hey Jerry, I’m ready, and no matter what happens, I’m so blessed to have this opportunity.”

“Good luck. I’ll see you afterward.”

I nod my thanks and slow jog onto the stage, a smile fixed on my face. I’m in the zone. The sound of the crowd dims to that of a busy restaurant— and I’ve worked enough of those to know. My hands run down the front of my Italian suit as I stand by a big red “X.”  Looking over at the judges, I’m ready to face the music—literally.

Here we go…


Tomorrow: "X" is for "The big Red X."



Ann V Friend said...

Nice blog! Blessings.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark - lovely post for Waiting .. great atmosphere .. I can see and feel it - then that inappropriate aroma ... no wonder the senses were awakened and totally ready, with a light smile ready for the story later about the tale of the day ... cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nothing like following horse poop.

Unknown said...

Again, so well written. I love how you share the emotions behind it all.

Tamara Narayan said...

This story has been so exciting, I haven't even noticed the writing (which is a compliment in case there's any doubt). The flow is amazing. You've done a great job capturing the emotion without ever slowing down the pace. Bravo.

Tamara Narayan said...

This story has been so exciting, I haven't even noticed the writing (which is a compliment in case there's any doubt). The flow is amazing. You've done a great job capturing the emotion without ever slowing down the pace. Bravo.

Nick Wilford said...

I felt the tension. Great writing. The baying of the crowd made it sound like some kind of gladiatorial arena. But the horse defused the situation. I'm sure you know, Mark, an elephant did that on Blue Peter and it was one of the greatest moments of British TV!

Anonymous said...

I think the audience must have just been in the mood to be big jerks all night.

Lisa said...

I can't even imagine what this feels like... He is so very brave. Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

Jo said...

What a great story. Wonder where the stage hands dumped it? I would not have been happy following that but he seems to have accepted it very well.

quietspirit said...

Mark: I was drawn into the scene. You relate the meethod of tension -release very well. I can hardly wait to read the outcome.

Melissa said...

I can't wait! I can't wait! :)

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