A small moving truck stops outside of an apartment building on an East Village street, in New York City. A young woman steps out of the passenger side and looks around. Her cousin Oliver is gathering up his things before getting out of the drivers seat. Keely Lynn O’Reilly was headed to Juilliard. The most elite performing arts school in the country and she’s honored to get an opportunity to study there. She came to New York City from Minnesota to be a professional ballerina and there was only one way to get there.
Since the age of 4, all has ever wanted to be was a dancer. Being the only girl born into a big Irish family, her parents instilled in her the belief that she can do anything she set her mind to. She spent most of her childhood, testing that theory. She took voice lessons because she wanted to sing and guitar lessons when her cousin, Oliver started playing. Photography in school because taking pictures interested her. She was enrolled in dance classes to improve her balance and give her some feminine grace. From the first class she was hooked. She worked hard in everything she tried, but she worked the hardest to be good enough to get into the best dance school and she was actually there.
It’s 1992 and at 18 years old, Keely was far more independent and focused than other girls her age. She wanted to be a professional dancer. A prima ballerina, if you will. The first step was to move out of the safety of her parents home and go across the country to New York City and live on her own. Her best friend from home moved to New York to become an actress and she was sharing an apartment with her. Wendy Leigh Price was her cousin Oliver’s former girlfriend. Her parents had agreed to pay her bills while she went to school. They realized how physically demanding and time consuming going to an elite New York City dance school like Juilliard would be and believed in their daughter’s dream.
Oliver opened the back of the truck as Keely went up the three flights of stairs to her new apartment. Wendy wasn’t home, so she used her key to unlock the door before going into her bedroom to figure out where everything would go. Her bedroom wasn’t huge, but it was big enough for the full sized bed her parents bought her and was now sitting in the back of the moving truck downstairs, and some other stuff she wanted to decorate her space with. She stood in the doorway pondering where she was gonna put her stuff when Oliver called out from the apartment door.
“Keel, where does this shit go?” he asked holding a box labeled Photography stuff.
“In here. Um... put it over there in the walk in closet. I’m gonna make that my dark room.” she told him directing him to where she wanted him to go.
“Are you sure this place is big enough? You have a lot of shit down there.” he asked setting the box down where she wanted it.
“It’s plenty big enough, Oli. Don’t worry so much.” she smiled as she ran her fingers through her platinum blonde and brown dyed hair, putting it in a pony tail.
“I’m gonna call the guys and let them know we’re here. If they help, we’ll get it done quicker.” he smiled at her.
“Sure. Thanks, Oli.” she smiled leading him to the phone.
“Hey, cuz, I gotcha covered. You’re not alone here, you know? We’re all here for you.” he smiled before dialing the phone.
“I appreciate that, thanks.” she smiled before heading downstairs to the moving truck.
When the guys from his band arrived, they got all of Keely’s stuff into her apartment within a couple of hours. “Ol, guess who I saw the other night.” Danny asked setting the last box down in Keely’s bedroom.
“Who?” Oliver asked curiously, popping open a beer.
“The Bohemian Knights. The lead singer rocked that place. He’s some guy named Roger something. The dude’s voice blew my face off. I was thinking of going back there to trying to poach him. With a voice like his, we can go places.” he explained opening a beer.
“Nah, we got a good guy in Steve. I know he’s still rough, but he’ll find his groove. I’d love to hear him though. I’ve been hearing about that guy for months. Hey Keel, are you sure you don’t wanna join us? You got enough talent to knock that Roger guy on his ass.” Oliver smiled over at his cousin as she drank her beer out of a glass.
“Oli, you know I need to concentrate on school. It’s Juilliard. It’s tougher than any other school in the nation. I can’t be performing in a band while I’m dancing. But I’d love to be able to go see you guys play one of these days.” she smiled gulping down her beer.
“Well the offer is always open if you change your mind. Just say the word and you’re a rock chick again.” he smiled as he finished his beer.
“I was never a rock chick, Oli. I’m a dancer. I’ve always been a dancer. That’s why I’m here. I was just playing around when I was up there with you guyys. You know that.” she looked over at him, tapping her fingernail on the glass she was holding.
“OK Keel, but if you ever change your mind. The band is yours again.” he smiled at her.
“Oli, we better go. We’re meeting Steve at reheasal.” Drew announced putting his beer can on the counter.
“Yeah, I gotta bring the truck back to the rental place. I’ll meet you guys there.” Oliver agreed setting his can next to Drew’s.
“Thanks for everything, guys. I appreciate all of your help, and thanks for setting up my bed, Seth. Oliver would have had me sleeping on the floor for a year until he found time to come back and set up the frame and stuff.” Keely smiled looking over at the band as they stood in the doorway of the apartment.
“No problem, Keel. Anytime. It’s great to have you here.” Seth winked before leaving the apartment.
“Remember, if you need anything, call me. It’s a lot different here than back home. It can be dangerous. You can’t walk alone at night around here. You have to pay attention to everything going on around you.” Oliver said looking down at her.
“I’ll be fine, Oli. Don’t worry so much. I’m a big girl.” she smiled up at him.
“You’re not such a big girl, Keel. Just make sure you stay out of trouble and be careful. This place can be big and scary. Especially for a young girl like you.” Oliver told her quietly as they stood in the doorway of the apartment.
“I’m only a year younger than you, Oli. God, you sound like mom and dad.” she was frustrated by his lecture.
“Just be careful, Keel. It’s not as safe as it was back home. I worry about you all alone here.” he explained trying not to piss her off.
“I’m not alone. I do have Wendy. Don’t worry so much.” she smiled trying to ease his worry.
“Talk to you later. Bye, Keel.” he smiled leaning down to kiss her head.
“Bye, Oli.” she smiled before closing the door. She leaned against the door before looking around at her own apartment. She straightened up before heading into the kitchen to clean up the beer cans the band members brought and subsequently emptied. She picked up her own beer glass before going into her room to unpack.
She sat on her bare bed and looked around. All those boxes piled up along the walls of her room made her take a deep breath in. “Here we go, Keel. The beginning of your new life. Cheers.” she told herself bringing her beer glass to her lips for a nice long sip before setting it down on the night table and beginning the daunting task of unpacking.
After a few hours, most of her boxes were emptied and broken down. As she sat on her now neatly made bed with the new pink sheets and comforter that her parents bought her, there was a knock on her bedroom door. “Keel, are you in there?” the voice called out. It was her roommate Wendy. She climbed over the flattened boxes to open the door.
“Hey Wend, you’re home.” she smiled after opening the door before leaning in for a hug.
“I am so sorry that I wasn’t here when you got here. I really wanted to be, but I had to pick up an extra shift at the restaurant. Otherwise, I would have been here to help you. I am so glad you’re finally here.” she told her before hugging her friend.
“I know. This is so cool. Um... Oli and the band were here. They helped me bring my stuff up. Seth even set up my bed for me. There’s beer in the fridge if you want some.” she smiled directing her attention towards the fridge.
“Cool. Listen, I was planning on meeting some people from work later to see a band. Do you wanna come? It’ll give you as chance to meet people outside of school.” Wendy smiled at her.
“I would love that. You have no idea how long a drive we had.” Keely said, happy to be getting along with her roommate.
“Yes I do. I just took the ride last year, remember? Oli drives like a maniac.” she smiled looking over at her.
“Yes, he does. Why don’t you let me get these boxes out of the way and then I’ll go in the shower and start getting ready to go out?” Keely asked playing with her pony tail.
“Sounds good. The incinerator room is down the hell on the right. We’re leaving in about an hour or so. The Bohemian Knights don’t go on until 9 anyway.” Wendy told her starting towards her room.
“The... Bohemian Knights? Their lead singer is um... Roger something, right?” Keely smiled timidly over at her.
“Yeah, Roger Greyson. He’s a rock god. I just saw them the other night and I have to see them again. He’s probably the best singer in the city. It also helps that he’s easy on the eyes.” Wendy raved as Keely grew more excited.
“Let me start getting ready.” Keely smiled at her.
“The bar we’re going to isn’t so strict about carding people. A lot of them aren’t, so you can drink if you want. You’ll pass for 21.” Wendy smiled before going into her room allowing Keely to get cleaned up and ready to go out on her first night in New York City.
She spent the weekend unpacking and getting used to her new surroundings before preparing to begin her experience at Juilliard. New York was gonna make her dreams come true. She could feel it.