Her waist was thin and her hair long and silky. She waited for her audition along with 50 other men and women. It was her first time downtown alone and she was frightened. But the challenge and excitement gave her confidence and stars in her eyes. It didn't matter that she didn't have experience. It didn't matter that there was no part for her. It didn't matter that this would be one in a series of many disappointments. She knew but her dreams were big.
She clutched her portfolio in her hand and leaned against the wall. The red carpet was dirty. The walls were dingy and needed paint. She wished she would have brought a book or a magazine like some of the others. As she stared at the black pattern in the maroon pile, she smiled.
Soon she would be working and doing what she loved. She would leave the safety and security of her parents' home and move to the Northside. Theatre. Great shops. Beautiful apartments. Art. Creativity. It was all before her.
Sitting at the kitchen table, she remembered. She smoked her last cigarette and let the warmth flood her inside. The smoke billowed around her head, like a gray scarf.
The irony was not lost. She was heavy now, with three kids, and a husband who worked his fingers black in grease and oil. Back in her old stomping ground, where she swore she would leave. Back to the home where she grew up. Back to the neighbors who never believed she would get anywhere. Maybe they were right all along.
She crushed her smoke, got up and turned off the light. Tomorrow was coming faster each day. But in her heart there was always that hope. Even when she put on her uniform to go to work. One day, she'd go back and audition again. Let those old neighbors shake their heads. Let her husband roll his eyes.
Maybe she could get another portfolio and audition. The parts would be different but she didn't care. She double-locked her front door and looked out the window. The street was dark and everything was quiet.
"It's never too late. I have big dreams."
She picked up her son's backpack and hung it on the hook before she went to bed.