A Little Taste of Heaven

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"You've got me laughing while I sing." (1)

If Chandler was bewildered yesterday, now I’m the one who is. Ros, April and our other classmates wish us luck, and then they find their seats amongst the crowd. Now, the contestants and their groups are all in the dressing room, which is in chaos. Students are either running or walking around and talking loudly to each other. Even though I have planned something else to wear already, Kayla gave me this beautiful, long, flowy, studded in sequins or glitters (I have no idea!) red dress. Then Nicole hands me a platinum-blonde wig.

“Is the plan you’re going for is to make me look like Marilyn Monroe or literally like Christina Aguilera?” I say, holding up the wig because it’s all short and curly.

Kayla laughs, “No, silly!”

Nicole grins and says, “Trust us, you’re gonna look fabulous.” She flailed her fingers at me when she emphasized the last word.

The two of them giggle and then work their magic. They are in the drama club, so they know how to do this pampering. That’s why they have easy access to the dresses, I think.

I look at the dress again, mesmerized by the way it shines. “You guys!” I say excitedly, holding it up as they prep me in front of the vanity mirror. “I love this dress! Did you swipe it from the costume department?”

Nicole smiles, “thank April. She made the red dress for you.”

“And these two as well,” Kayla shows their grey dresses in prompt excitement. “Aren’t they glamorous!?”

Awestruck, “April did this?!”

They both nod and continue pampering me.

Why didn’t I write this in my journal!? It’s like, important! And very admirable for having a best friend like her! I sigh. Wow, I was really selfish back then. I roll my eyes at my old self.

“She’s so talented! Isn’t she?!” Nicole says, caressing the sequined dress. “Why? Don’t you like it?” asks Nicole. I wave my hands, “No, of course not. I like it!” I say. “It’s just, you know, she’s one of my best friends and her parents are really not supportive in this department. It’s just unfortunate, I suppose.”

They frown. I guess Nicole and Kayla feel sorry for April, too.

When they finished beautifying me, they went and started grooming themselves. I have the chance to look at myself in the mirror, and they giggle at me.

“Like what you see, huh?” Kayla dabs her foundation on her face.

I can’t help but smile. I wasn’t aware Nicole and Kayla knew contour already because they enhanced my bone structures with cosmetics. My eyebrows are on fleek, the colour of my eyes pop and my lips are lusciously red. They also fixed my wig.

When we are all fully dressed, the girls and I feel stunning. We are wearing these long, sequined costumes tailored by my fashionable friend, April. We look so glamorous; 1950’s glamorous with matching hair and makeup! I love it! Oh! As for the boys, they borrowed their costumes from the ROTC guys, and they look adorable!

Now I know why Nicole told us to practice in the Theatre Hall. It’s because this is where the event will happen. Right, I remember! The competition starts, and the hosts warm up the stage. But I barely listened as the first few students performed on stage because I was busy listening to Candyman on my iPod repeatedly. Yup, we decided to go with Candyman.

After a few performances, it’s my turn to compete. We walk to the stage while the curtains are still closed. We hear the host announce my name, and my homeroom roars with applause and chants. I giggle then smile brightly at my crew on stage with me. The music starts playing, and as everyone applauds, the curtains dramatically open. My backup boys sing and my backup girls sing back. The upbeat song made me move smoothly. I sing and dance to the beat. I didn’t know if I’m doing it right, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I hit the high notes as my backup singers support me with their harmonized vocalization. The dances are in sync, too. Well, their dances are in complete synchronization. It feels fantastic. I move as if glitters are showering upon me. Every move I make, I sparkle as the spotlight hits me. Literally sparkling!

The adrenaline is high and kicking, and we are having so much fun. My classmates initiate clapping rhythmically, and the boys are whistling. When we are near the end of the song, I sing the line ’He’s a one-stop-shop with a real big uh.’ But, instead of ‘uh,’ I sang ’smile’ and most students laughed. Probably, because A: I am just 15 years old and B: It’s very inappropriate if I strut uh.

We bow at the audience after we strike our last pose, and my homeroom is exploding. I laugh at the scene. We huddle when the curtains close.

“We crushed it!” Kayla says, and we laugh as the other host utters flowery comments about our performance.

As we head off the stage, Ryan and his band make their way to their places, and he meets my gaze. He flashes me a smile and waves before they go to the centre. As they waited, the hosts introduced Ryan. When the curtains open, ear-splitting screams and shouts boom as he starts performing. I have no clue why I am still standing here on the side of the stage observing him as he performs David Cook’s version of Mariah Carey’s Always Be My Baby.

The boisterous crowd (mostly girls) are cheering as Ryan sings huskily and struts on stage. I have to be honest, he sounds so good that it gives me chills. He then looks at the side of the stage where I am and meets my eyes to wink at me. Seriously, if this is the real 15-year-old me, I’d probably be hopping up and down because of happiness and giddiness.

I shake my head and follow my crew to the dressing room. Mrs Liao stops me and says, “Mariana, you did a great performance back there.”

I smile. “Oh my, thank you, ma’am!”

She walks with me. “I’m still wondering why you’re not in the drama club, with a voice like that and your charm?!” she says. “You should try auditioning for the winter musical.”

I ponder. “Yes, maybe I should.”

“That’s wonderful!” she says excitedly. “I’m sure you’ve heard every school year, I pick lucky students to mentor?”

I remember this moment. “But ma’am, you pick seniors?” I say, making sure I was not weird.

She giggles. “And I see great potential from you and your group!” We reach the dressing room. “Talk to me after this activity. Good luck. I hope you guys win!” Then she crosses her fingers at me and walks to the crowd.

My crew greets me when I enter the dressing room, showering each other with compliments.

“This calls for a celebration!” Jared and Jason say at the same time.

We laugh, but then I say, “Don’t you think it’s too soon? We don’t know who’s going to win yet.” Of course, I know, though.

“Win or lose, we rocked it!” chimes Jason. “It’s not like it has a prize anyway.”

I laugh. “Yes, there is!”

Jared shrugs. “Well, I was just doing it for the grade.”

They laugh at him. Wait, I don’t think this moment is written in my journal. I let them talk excitedly to each other as I reach my bag, open my journal and read:

Journal, you will not believe what happened. They all liked my performance! I mean, even though Leslie Casillas from 4-B won cause she sang a Lady Gaga song, and her costume and everything was really great

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