1: Heads Or Tails

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"The best way not to get your heart broken is to pretend you don't have one." - Charlie Sheen

Chapter One: Heads Or Tails?

            When I was young, my dad always told me lies to make me feel better about myself. “Don’t listen to the other kids,” he would always say. “You’re not a freak. You’re just different – special.” For a long time I believed him, but there comes a moment when kids stop believing what adults say, the way they stop believing in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. That moment usually comes naturally, but for me, it came as a traumatizing event that I wish I could forget.

            “So how was it? Do I have the role?” The stage lights glazed hotly against my skin as I beamed down at the small cluster of audience below. On the first row of seats below the theatre, five gentlemen and one madam sat with a pen and a clipboard in their hands. Of the six people in total, the words of only the gentleman in the middle did I care for – the famous Broadway director Kelvin Steins.

            He tapped the end of his pen against his clipboard and frowned unexpectedly. “Have you ever fallen in love before?”

            “What?” The question came as a complete surprise. “What does that have to do with anything?”

            “Have you?” He pressed.

            “Well I...” My eyes paused on the director who stared back at me with a blank expression before I cleared my throat. “Love is a waste of time – I’ve always thought that.”

            He sighed. “Go home. Broadway is not a place for you. No matter how many auditions you go to, I can guarantee you’ll never step on that stage unless you’re the janitor.”

            I laughed. I could hardly believe the words that were coming out of his mouth, but I was built a lot stronger than that. “Not until you give me a proper reason,” I insisted. “What’s this about love?” I pounded my hand on top of my chest. “I practice harder than anyone. I want this more than anyone.”

            Again he sighed as his panel of judges discuss quietly among themselves. “I’m going to be honest with you. You have crazy talent for someone only seventeen, but you can’t express love at all. You can cry on cue so you might trick the audience, but you can’t lie to me with that kind of half-ass acting. Your voice is angelic, your vocals flawless, yet it completely lacks emotion. Your dancing is the same. It’s like you’re a highly specialized cyborg – cold, perfect, emotionless. ”

            “But I don’t always have to take a role that involves love.”

            “And how many plays, movies, films, doesn’t have love? Whether it’s a drama or a war film, an action or a comedy – everything revolves around love. The pain of love. The loss of Love. The absence of Love. Love gone wrong. Love gone crazy. How many variations are out there? Can you avoid it forever?”

            I swallowed hard at his response. I’ve never back down from anything in my life, and yet, here I was, so close to my dream and so completely speechless.

            “But she’s only seventeen.” My eyes made a quick dart to the right, where the only female audience sat with a hesitant smile on her face. “Isn’t it too harsh to say she’ll never get on that stage Kelvin? Besides, you’re holding auditions throughout the country for another month at least, it’s possible that she can learn that feeling of love and audition again in another city before you finish casting.”

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