Smiley-Cheeks, a pint sized joy, with the voice of a thousand sweet melody’s, stared into my face intensely. Her brow gently tilted towards her nose as I tried to stare past her avoiding her question. It hit me like an unexpected wave and threw my mind into the undertow. I struggled to make my way to the surface, but, on the way, I tossed in the days of weeks past…

I was thrown into the rehearsal process. Many a nights found me alone, my mind punching my brain trying to get it to direct my limbs in the right direction. My elbows, knees and frontal lobe visited the walls as I slammed my body in all directions trying to solidify the choreography. Collapsing to the floor, lying in my blood, sweat and tears, I woke up, the cement cold against my weary body.

I was jerked into the many conversations that eluded me, having a limited theatre vocabulary and texting myself the different shows I heard in discussion. As the house slept tight, I Googled and Youtubed everything I could to be able to have an intelligent theatre conversation. Often times I found myself clumsily mixing story lines and combining lyrics coming up with a completely new musical: Gone with The Memphis Ragtime Lady, While Jersey Boys Wickedly tried to Catch Me if they Rocked the Ages.

I was allotted a bit of air as I swam in the sassy sexiness of Smiley-Cheeks hit “Fall Back”. A Youtube search lent me the pleasure of seeing her two sisters and her coming together to tell a tale of repeatedly falling for the bad guy. I, next, coasted for a bit listening to Diesel cascade through “Use Somebody” and sending me skyward with “Memphis in Me.” Songs that quickly found their way into my memory bank as well as his beautifully created hit “Just a Show”.

I was swept back under as I nervously stared on at Harmony-Queen pluck out the most minuscule of notes in a Boyz II Men song. She taught as if she had wrote the song herself and secured the most intricate of tones in the minds of Be-bop, the ever smiling and always humorous talent, and Brillo, the tightly curled nice guy with the voice that reached into the heavens. I was in awe at Harmony-Queen’s precision and my heart smiled at her skills.

And then Jazzy and Springy entered the picture. With his powerful legs, he jumped into the air, carefully teaching me the technical leaps of his craft. As I moved through them, holding onto his guidance, Springy joined in and created jump choreography we could all move through. I tasted familiarity as I was finally able to do something they could do and danced in the sweet smiles of Springy & Jazzy as they pushed me further. They lifted my spirits higher than any leap I did that day. I caught a glimpse of The Teacher, as he assured me that a few weeks with him, would lend me a while new set of skills.

I never did get a chance for his guidance. Only a few glimpses at his beautifully created choreography, left me wishing I had had a chance to pick his dancing brain. Maybe in the future.

Next I hit a whirlpool…

–          Moving in with Lurch and having conversations that ignited my soul. His body huge in stature, his spirit so gentle and giving. His company was as if tasting the newness of a fresh spring day. And meeting his mother and friend was like a romp through the lilies.

–          Sephora her sharp beautiful eyes always staring approval and encouragement in me, no matter how low or out of sync I felt. She smiled belief into my soul and tapped me along to achieve greatness.

–          Young at Heart always keeping me company no matter how many were around. He never ceased to shower me with a kind word and treated me as if we had known one another for a lifetime. Watching him night after night, was an instant hit, as he made faces, played with toys and even bopped to the beats as his fingers tickled the ivories.

–          Delightful her sassy demeanor moved through the air as if she commanded the wind and her words whispered the breath of theatrical life into me. She was as sweet as she was breathtaking; every gesture she made telling a story.

–          Ready the high energy, songstress. She moved with a catlike finesse and never seized to be picture perfect in everything she did. I lay in awe at the chance to be her partner on the stage and marveled as she trustingly jumped into my arms, knowing I could never let her fall.

–          Powerhouse she took me in as if I were her own child and talked with me as if imposing bits of wisdom into an open book. I wrapped myself in her knowledge, her patience and the moments that surrendered me in her presence. Even in silence, she spoke to me, reassuring all that wavered. I felt… comfortable.

–          Tanned always greeting me with a smile no matter what the mood of the day. His bright teeth always setting laughter in me.

–          Polished much like tanned, his smile reached through you and planted itself in your soul. His careful speech and kind demeanor encamped you in a friendly forest with not a worry in sight.

–          Dent the calm assurance in a storm. His demeanor always peaceful, his words carefully placed and uplifting. When you spoke he held onto every word, and when he spoke you couldn’t help but feel listened to and appreciated.

–          Be-bump always up for a joke, his glasses fooling you into thinking him purely intellectual, his humor bursting through letting you know you had to be like a midget at a urinal. Always on your toes. Pleasingly pleasant he was. A hint of jest always painted on his face.

–          HUH you never knew what he would do next. Always in character and never without a whitty comeback, he moved through the days as if he designed every step. Wonderfully full of life.

–          The surprises (Misty, Sprinkles & Dew). Misty, quietly quaint, opened her mouth and belted about her French Boyfriend. The sound and tone shocking and overwhelming delicious as you took in her vocal prowess. Sprinkles twisting and tossing her body in ways hidden to the everyday eye. Her kicks, leaps and flips sprinkling a new light of excellent on her already decorated repertoire of skill. And then there was Dew the hardworking, constantly auditioning perfectionist, who found a way to figure out every piece of life imaginable. She could joke with the best, play with the goofiest, and just presented her joy and gratitude in all she did.

–          Spit & Speed we fought at the Act I finale every night, each trying to do up the other with the changing of lyrics. The final performance rendering them speechless as I finally shocked them with something nice. They said, “Stay, away, you’ll never get into another play”, I retorted “ 2-4-6-8 getting to know you two was very great!” Their jaws fell open and they seized to sing as I killed them with kindness. They quickly embraced me and thanked me for being in their lives. My heart thumbed with the same sentiments.

–          Cheesy what an actress. She lived the part she played and she played the part well. And her sweet demeanor only made her character and her real life pleasurable to be around. When talking with her, you couldn’t help but get lost in her kindness and instinctively want to wish all her dreams true.

–          PowerX the athletic trainer that kicked us all into shape as she moved through bouts of “Insanity” as if she were a drill sergeant. However, she was a gentle and sweet as a koala bear.

–          Kayaky even after being pelted in the face with a hallow radio, she still brought joy to my life and held no grudges against me. She constantly beat me up, her brute husband joining in on the fun, and always found moments to bring joy into my gloom. Around her, a smile was not only contagious, but sparked an outbreak.

–          Gingerbread even her corrections were touched in love as she approached me to better myself. With her paper in hand, I ran to caress the words that only vowed to make me better, more effective, polished.

Smiley-Cheeks never looked away from me as the memories washed my brain. I smirked, trying to smile as I began to see the clouds darkening. I could feel the trembling of the ocean and soon I found myself in a hurricane.

The darkness of mistakes made, words unspoken and feelings unfelt bombarded my tranquility. I reached around me for anything that could anchor me to my peace. I didn’t care to remember the things that caused me to drown, gasping for any piece of air bubble that would pass my way.

I stared into her eyes, totally engulfed in her question, wishing I could have swam in kinder tides along the journey. I rebuked the storms that forced their way into my conscience and pleaded away the wreckage that it caused my soul.

Smiley-Cheeks tossed concern on her face, as I fell silent trying to sort the pieces of an unsolvable puzzle. The chunks splitting apart like Pangaea, creating huge gaps of confusion in between.  I grabbed my nose and tossed myself under, the tears creating bigger waves in my emotions.

I thrust myself up, and grabbed at the wreckage each piece falling past my grip. I fell under again.

The storm stopped.

I was shoved to the surface, a long plank floating before me. I grabbed a hold and remembered Heart. Her lips full of glee and her words sarcastically true “Love Ya, Mean It.” I felt understood in her eyes as if she knew more than she put off.

–          Lettuce lifted me further out of the abyss. His giving spirit and love for all living things and the betterment of the world encouraged me. No matter who you were or what you were he didn’t care. He simply adjusted to every situation as a chameleon, constantly trying to ignite the beauty in all creation.

–          Punch the brother I always wanted to beat up. He was nothing but constant entertainment backstage, even when I felt like crawling into the bags under my eyes and rest.

–          Understudy the ex-band member, who ran scenes with me in the darkness of the stage. Scenes that neither one of us were in, nor would ever take part. However, we became the characters on stage as I waited for my cue to enter the spotlight. He was the friend that all enjoyed and there was never a demeaning gesture in his bones.

–          Syrup from the day we met she bathed in my energy and I washed myself in the grandness of her smile. Each night she danced me with, her in the wings, and I on stage and no matter how many times she saw me, the same approving grin spread across her face as if every moment we had together were the first. She was my incredible lift from down under. A lovely enjoyment.

–          Joy her final words to me striking a chord in my soul that reminded me of who I am. I thanked her with the water in my eyes and lit her face with the gleam of my smile.

–          And then I fell into The Reason. In his eyes I felt the genuine love of a caring stranger. His words danced around me creating a rhythm that only kindness could project. When he looked at me, it was that of a proud caretaker watching his loved ones live out their dream. His smile speaking a thousand words as his head tilted in awe.

I finally swam to the shore and gripped Smiley-Cheeks question:

“Is there anything that you are going to change in the future?”

I searched my memory and looked at the wreckage around me. I entertained thoughts of rebuilding. I reached for the tools to do so. And finally I looked towards the eye of the storm, pieces of me waiting to be put back together.

I smiled.

It was the end of this journey, but so many possibilities lay ahead. Mistakes were waiting to be made into lessons and knowledge begged me to embrace. Understanding planted itself within me and let me know that some things aren’t always as they seem.

So now, three days after using up my last can of hairspray, reflecting on so many things I have learned along the way, I have noticed that the haircuts weren’t always pretty, at times messy, but, the hair will eventually grow back.

And sometimes it is necessary to lather, rinse and repeat multiple times. Even dead follicles can be rejuvenated. So, even though the storm did a number on my hair, I will search for the Rogaine of life, and hope for the best.

Besides, I’m looking forward to my second chances if and when they come.

And a second chance to grow Just enough hair for… Hairspray!