Khaya rushes out of Mr James’ classroom, sprinting through the passages and stairs. By the time he reaches the auditorium, there is a large crowd. He looks over the sea of heads and spots Thando standing in front.
“Dude! Where have you been ?” Thando says, as Khaya elbows his way to her.
“Mr James took longer than I expected. He just kept going on and on. I nearly didn’t make it out,” Khaya says, setting his bag down and trying to catch his breath.
“What did he want anyway? Actually, never mind. Luckily, you got here before they got to the dance part,” Thando says, as she hands him the audition sheet. “They started with the music; I might try out for a singing part.”
“Singing? Thando, you can’t hold a note to save your life,” Khaya teases.
Thando looked at him, putting her hand on her chest, pretending to be hurt. They stare at each for a second and then burst out laughing.
Mr Rowland, one of the dance teachers, steps out. He spots Khaya in the crowd, and they exchange smiles.
Khaya met Mr Rowland the first time he went to the auditorium. The man had caught Khaya secretly watching the class he was teaching.
“You do know that you could just walk in and join us,” Mr Rowland had said afterwards.
Since then, Mr Rowland had become something more than just his teacher: he was Khaya’s role model. He was even the person who bought Khaya his first ballet shoes.
“This might be the biggest turnout we have had over the years,” Mr Rowland says. “We are very impressed, by the way.”
The crowd claps.
“If you look at the paper that was given to you when you walked in, you’ll see that the audition contains two parts; prepared and unprepared,” Mr Rowland says. “The first round of auditions will be held tomorrow. I hope to see all of you there.”
“I think they should just give everything to you,” Thando says, as Mr Rowland leaves the stage. “We already know you are going to kill it.”
The last bell of the day finally rings. But instead of rushing out, Khaya heads back to the auditorium. When he reaches the music player, he suddenly recalls “Ave Maria”.
Maybe that’s the one, Khaya thinks.
He presses play and takes centre stage. The first notes of the song fill the room. He begins to move, and a fluttering sensation builds up in his stomach. He becomes lost in the notes.
As the song nears the end, Khaya pauses for a moment, trying to catch his breath, before springing into a quick double spin.
One-two, he jumps! He comes crashing down.
Lying on the floor, he can feel the throbbing pain in his knee. He bursts out laughing at his clumsiness. In his dream, he had executed it flawlessly. Clearly, reality had more gravity.
He stands up, wincing at the pain and hobbles to the player.
An hour later, Khaya reaches home. As he goes through the gate, he is surprised to find his father’s van outside.
What on earth? I’m not that late.
Khaya’s palms get sweaty as he walks toward the door. But before he can come up with an excuse for his lateness, the door opens, and there is his mother, face masked in worry.
“Uh…molweni,” he greets nervously.
She motions him inside, and there is his father.
“Dad? Sowubuyile, you came back,” Khaya offers a hand to shake.
“Sit down, Khaya,” his father says sternly, ignoring his hand.
Tell us: What do you think is happening? What do you think will happen next?