Story by Simon Nguyen
There are two types of people in the world – artists and the rest of us. An artist lives and breathes at the mercy of the audience. Behind every artist’s smile, there are sweats and tears accompanying.
For 10 years, Katherine was the queen of the ballet. She was able to execute the most difficult of moves with incredible ease and grace. Every time she was slated to perform, the theater would be inundated with fans hoping to catch a glimpse of Katherine’s greatness. Every time she performed her signature move, the crowd would go absolutely wild. Nothing seemed to be able to slow her down. Katherine was a bonafide superstar.
Things would take a startling turn, however. Katherine was on her way home one night when her car was hit by an out-of-control truck. Even though she survived the crash, injuries sustained from the accident severely limited her mobility and agility. She could no longer execute the type of moves she was known for. Pretty soon, her contract with the ballet company was terminated.
In the next two years, Katherine would literally knock on the door of one ballet company after another begging for a chance to perform. Unfortunately, the same people who used to vigorously courting her to work for them were now turning a deaf ear on her. Without her signature move, Katherine was nothing more than an ordinary ballet dancer whose best years had passed.
From dawn to dusk, Katherine was seen practicing in her private studio. Despite indescribable pain and despite her bruised feet enveloped with blood, she continued to persist. She practiced, practiced, and practiced some more. Her husband, a wealthy businessman, urged Katherine to give up on her ballet dancing–she wouldn’t listen. Her daughters begged her to stop inflicting upon herself further pain–she still insisted in pursuing her passion. They just didn’t understand her, she thought. A true artist does not care about money or fame; it’s the opportunity to perform the art one so dearly loves that is empowering the artist to shoulder on.
Despite countless hours of practice, her efforts yielded no fruits. She just could not regain the form that had made her famous. Exhausted, Katherine collapsed. As she lay sheepishly on the wooden floor, her eyes were overflowing with tears. Although she was not a person of faith, Katherine could not help but to pray to the Higher Being. All she hoped for was another chance, even if it was only temporary.
Her prayer was apparently answered. In the days after, the condition of her feet dramatically improved. Within months, she was able to execute all the difficult moves she was renowned for. It wasn’t long before people started noticing her again. She was offered a chance to return to the stage she had long yearned for. In fact, she was tapped to be the show’s headliner.
On the day of the premiere, the theater was packed with loyal fans who had waited for so long for another opportunity to witness their idol in action. She did not disappoint them. Her performance was truly majestic. She was the same Katherine, queen of the ballet, but with a much humble attitude and a stronger passion. The night ended with an indefatigable standing ovation. People recognize greatness when they see one; they saw it that night.
After the performance, Katherine’s family threw a huge party to celebrate her magnificent return to the stage. It was then when the most shocking thing happened. Katherine could no longer feel her feet; she would never be able to walk again. The smile never left Katherine’s face, however. She got what she wished for; she had no regrets.
It is hard to comprehend what it’s like to be artist until you become one yourself. Behind every artist’s smile, there are sweats and tears accompanying.