May 31st, the Day of Days: Anniversary AND Skating Show!
I left work early to go home and put on my costume and my face. One of the few times a year that I wear make-up is for skating shows, and I have to wear a lot. If you've seen pictures of me, you know that I am a white white-girl. Beneath the spotlights, it's doubtful if you'd be able to see me at all. And when I say a lot of makeup, I mean are-you-sure-you-don't-work-in-the-Red-L
Not to mention the fact that I had to squeeze into my shimmer tights--a cross between pantyhose and a vice with sparkles--wrangle myself into my strapless-backless corset bra, put the costume on top of all that, and hopefully secure my yard of hair so that it didn't come tumbling down in the middle of a performance.
These things take time.
I had just put coverup over my yucky spots and was pouring on the foundation when Bobby came home. With 14 beautiful orange roses! So of course I had to bounce out--patchy face and all--for hugs, squees, and a little marital making out. Hey, it was our anniversary, what can I say? And tucked into the roses was a note.
He wanted to write me something, and when we were in the tenth grade, we used to write each other a letter every day and exchange them in the hallway between classes. That year, we had only one class together and barely saw each other; it was my hardest school year ever. So he wrote me an old-fashioned love letter that made me wubble and get all teary-eyed. Good thing I hadn't done my eye makeup yet!
I also gave him his thirty-three drabbles, and he set about reading them. Poor Bobby. No matter the occasion, he has to read at least ten pages written by me. This is the third thing I've written him since Christmas and nothing's ever less than ten pages. I promised him that for our next anniversary, I would settle for writing one drabble. As I finished applying my makeup, I kept hearing pages turning...I felt kind of bad for him, stuck with a rambling wife like me.
We arrived at the rink early because Interstate-95 going north was strangely traffic-free. Each skater was to bring a bottle of soda and a refreshment for after the show, and I--of course--made candy: chocolate rollerskate-shaped lollipops. So I set them out on the refreshment tables and then...waited. I didn't want to put on my skates because I have a deformed bone in my left foot that hurts if it spends more than two hours in skates. Bobby and I sat and talked until a half-hour before showtime, at which point I went to finish putting on my costume, put on my skates, and warm up.
I had quite a crew in attendance: my parents, my in-laws, my sister-in-law, Bobby (of course), and our couple-friends Cindy and Andy. Strangely, skating for people I know is never as scary as skating for strangers. And skating for strangers is never as scary as skating for other skaters, who know when you mess up or don't land a jump or cheat on a spin. So I prefer an audience full of people I know; I pretend I'm performing just for them and it's all good.
Of course, nothing can go perfectly at a show. That would be too...perfect. One of the skaters showed up without her costume skirt. Another showed up without her costume necklace and Ms. Jackie had a fit. We were late getting started while waiting for the first skater's parents to return with her skirt. Ai.
I fluctuated between slightly being nervous and unnervingly calm. But that is never a true indicator of how it will be out on the floor. It's what my skating-friend Shannon calls "The Black Curtain Syndrome": The moment that you're waiting behind that black curtain for your name to be called and your music to begin, you have to pee. Like so badly that you fear wetting out on the floor. It's awful.
Then, when you come back: no more pee. As I asked her, don't you wonder where it goes? Like, "Oops! Did I have an accident out there?!"
Our theme this year was "A Celebration of Music: Idols, Divas, and Hearthrobs." I performed in four numbers this year of (I think) twelve:
- Tom Jones medley, "It's Not Unusual"/"She's a Lady"--solo
- Tina Turner, "Proud Mary"--group number with other advanced specialist girls
- Whitney Houston, "The Greatest Love of All"--group number with the whole cast and our skating instructor Ms. Jackie
- Earth, Wind, and Fire, "Shining Star"--finale, with the whole cast
Because the show was done chronologically, with the oldest songs first, I skated my solo second in the whole show.
Normally, I like to do a group number first, to accustom me to the floor and the audience, but no such luck. So five minutes into the show, I was standing behind the black curtain...
...and it went great!
I skated out and couldn't even see the audience because of the follow-spots shining in my eyes. Which was a good thing. It was like practicing in the dark. I nailed all of my skills and didn't have any embarrassing blunders. (Except for the fact that my "tightly secured" bun decided to come loose midway through.) I had made the executive decision before the show to change my camel-sit to just a camel spin because the "sit" lately has looked more like a squat. I even managed both sets of successive three-turns; I've never been able to perform successive three-turns in a show before. They require a good deal of finesse and are not suited for nerves.
I had a lot of fun.
Then I skated backstage and thought, "Five months of preparation, three minutes, and it's over."
It was disappointing.
At White Marsh, we'd had a much larger program and had three shows and a cast show each spring. But the positive aspects of the Freestyle Fanatics over White Marsh Skating make it worthwhile, even if I do miss the additional shows.
"Proud Mary" was a fun number; one that Ms. Jackie told us could only be done by older, sexy women. (I think she was trying to placate some of the "older, sexy women" who didn't want to be doing all the shimmying required of the choreography.) The audience clapped loooong for that one.
We had a bit of excitement when Ashley and Brandon skated a pair's routine to Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up." They are the most advanced pair in the group and did a lot of
"Shining Star" went great considering that it was the first time that the whole cast had skated it together. Even those skaters who tend to be bona fide eejits couldn't find a way to mess it up.
Then...the show was over!
And I could enjoy the second part of my evening.
I was a bit dismayed that all the excitement surrounding the show had dulled our anniversary a bit. After the show, the whole entourage went for dinner at Red Brick Station so that Bobby and I could have a nice anniversary dinner. Bobby and I shared hummus and I had a vegetarian quesadilla; Bobby had an old-fashioned burger and a Daily Crisis IPA microbrew. I was ravenous by this time, and we had a great time with our families and friends.
Then I looked up and got quite a surprise...because walking in the door was our old friend Will.
Those of you who read my (33!) drabbles will know that Will was the mutual friend who got Bobby and me together. We had both been shy at that age and neither wanted to admit to liking the other; Will rather forced the issue. He and Bobby have known each other since the age of eleven; Will and I became friends freshman year of high school and went to university together. The three of us have always been the sort of friends that might not see each other for years but--upon reuniting--find so much to talk about that it's as though we were never apart.
I've talked to--but haven't seen--Will since I graduated three years ago.
It was awesome: Our ten-year anniversary, a great evening, and seeing the friend who had made it all possible, ten years ago. So it was chaotic and not the tenth anniversary that I would have planned, given the choice, but it probably turned out better than if I had planned it. It was a night to remember.