She’s Too Legit to Quit

Dear Caroline,

You’d made up your mind. You had a rehearsal at DiCapo Opera Theatre on the Upper East Side that afternoon and now you’d decided against going.

You were to play Diana in the Irving Berlin show “Of Thee I Sing.” But now, halfway through rehearsals, with the show about two months away, you refused to participate.
We knew you could sing, and you knew you could sing, and everyone at DiCapo knew you could sing, too. You had other issues, as I gathered from Mom.

You knew nobody well there and almost everyone knew everyone else, so you felt out of place, an outsider. You disliked the show, too, and how Diane directed you to sing – the style felt all wrong – and the role itself.

Besides, the schedule of rehearsals had begun to take a toll – all those nights after a day of school, all those weekend afternoons, schlepping in on the express bus or the subway to be put through your paces, practicing the singing and the dancing, going through number after number.

You were only 15 years old, only in your second season at DiCapo, but you felt worn out and cranky, completely out of it, enough so to quit cold. You’d complained before, just a whimper here and a whine there, but this decision – to drop out, to cut your losses – took Mom by surprise.

Mom had asked you to get ready to leave that Saturday morning in March, and you’d said no. It was about 11, the sky grey with clouds.

You have to go, Mom said. You should finish what you started.

I can do what I want, you said. Nobody can force me to do anything.

You have to stop giving up on stuff so easily, Mom said.

I can change my mind, you said.

You still should go, Mom said.

Are you going to make me? you said. It’s my decision to make. Mine.

But this is what you always wanted to do, Mom said.

You’re acting like a stage mother now, you said.

I heard your voices from the other room, right through the bedroom wall. Your voices grew louder, angrier, more insistent. I had no idea what the fuss was about. I came out to find out.

Mom told me and we huddled in the bedroom.

P.S. – Part 2 will appear tomorrow.

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