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Acting (A short story) By Jane Lee



Goldilocks stood outside the doorway of the little house, contemplating her life. Then she stepped inside and saw the table with the three bowls of porridge, three spoons, and three chairs- one small, one medium, and one large.


Suddenly, the director slashed at the air, signaling her to stop. She noticed the cameraman turning off the camera. She frowned, and stalked over to him. “Why did you signal to stop? I was just getting into the mood!” The director rubbed his forehead. “Athena..”

She waited, impatient.

“This…this isn’t what I’m looking for. I want a nice deep film, with drama and action. Not that silly thing you were doing there.”

His words stung. Athena remained silent and wide eyed. “Goldilocks is in deep contemplating, Athena, if you want to win the leading role, you’ve got to focus.”

Athena looked at the set. All these backgrounds, cameramen, just because she said she had seen a poster about the leading role for Goldie, in ‘Goldilocks and the three bears’. One word was all she needed to say- her dad got excited. And now her dad was the director, and bossing her around when she didn’t even want to try out for the role. But her dad always drowned her out, with his enthusiasm. “Now Athena, let’s try again. Roll the camera!” And then they practiced again and again and again until she felt as though she could never act again.


♪♪♪


It was her turn. Oh. Oh. Oh. In the backstage of the arena she felt small, and timid. Her lungs seemed to have shrank into a withered shell of emptiness. Her mouth seemed to have disappeared altogether. Her courage, had gone long ago. Her dad kept on jiggling and nodding, saying things like, “you got this baby.” And “it’s all about trying.” But nothing went into her ears. “Athena Minerva Adams.” Her dad stood up. “That’s you hon! Go! Go! Beat them all!” Athena managed to return a weak smile. She went through the curtains.


But then a thought stopped her. Why am I doing this? She thought, and then, without a thought, she ran.


♪♪♪


She ran like crazy, tearing through crowds, ignoring the calls of her father, ignoring the bossy, cold voice of the announcer on the speakerphone. She panted, she sobbed as she went, but there was only one purpose. To get away from this wretched place. To get away from her dad. She burst through the doors and ran to the forest and curled up to a ball and sobbed.


“Athena?” It was her dad, panting and wet haired. She didn’t answer. “Athena, what’s wrong? What happened?”

She looked up. “It’s just all these years and years of you pushing me to do the things I don’t want to do, making me do the things I hate, and forcing me to keep on doing things and doing things. But I can do that from now on. I can do everything you say. Everything you want me to do.” She broke down sobbing. Athena knew her dad was going to be disappointed. But when she looked up, her dad was hugging her. “I’m sorry. I need to work on not doing that. But you know I love you right?”

She nodded, and her dad said, “Should we get some burgers? It’s Better to have some heavy stuff in you after a heavy conversation.” And they both laughed.

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