Marisa reaches the door and clasps its handle. It is a heavy door, so it takes a few moments of tugging before it finally opens. The lights are dimmed inside, and someone is playing some teacher’s shot at jazzing up “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Immediately in front of her is the set of stairs that leads, she presumes, to the balcony. Her steps are slow, halting every now and then to recollect her bearings, but she makes her way up the stairs. They are uncommonly steep, trying to catch her toes as she ascends them, making her grateful she didn’t wear heels.

There is no one else in the balcony, and because Marisa is feeling uncommonly brave, she seats herself in the first row at the balcony. Here, she can lean forward and set her arms on the balcony railing. She does this and rests her head on her arms. She takes deep breaths to calm herself down. She is here. She has made it.

Marisa knows she will spend the whole recital cringing at the discomfort of her wet shoes, or worrying that someone will come up and join her on the balcony, or panicking that maybe her phone isn’t silenced like she thinks it is, but for now, this is the best she can do—and she knows that, in Jenn’s eyes, it will be quite enough.

The End

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