Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Amaya's Shoe

April, 2009

Amaya was a fourth-grader I had to turn down this year simply because I had too many kids.

"Amaya, your audition was very good and I want you to try again next year because you'll have a terrific chance of being in The Shakespeare Club."

She gave a small smile and accepted the news. I could see the disappointment and it was one of those awful moments in my undertaking. To be honest, the ups and downs with these children as I go through the process and then later as I write down the stories...there isn't enough Prozac on Planet Earth, let's put it that way.

Amaya did, however, linger outside Room 39 every Wednesday afternoon like a lost kitten. She wouldn't say a word; she would just look at me.

"Would you like to come in and watch, Amaya?"

She'd nod and scamper in to sit in a corner and silently watch rehearsal. When it came to snack time I made sure there was an extra treat for Amaya.

"Ms. Ryane, can I be in The Shakespeare Club?" she asked one afternoon as I was cleaning up.

"Not this year, Amaya, but remember you're going to try again next year, okay?"


One afternoon I stopped in to Room 39, right after lunch, as Sydney was about to start her afternoon session. I was there to pick up some journals and noticed Amaya tucked behind the door.

"Hey there, what are you...?" I stopped when I saw the tears rolling down her cheeks. I knelt beside her.

"Amaya, what is it? What's happened?"

The cacophony of kids, boisterous and loud, as they arrived after lunch, allowed us privacy behind the door.

She held up her shoe, a flimsy emerald green slip-on with almost the entire sole unglued and falling away. Amaya was dressed that day in a shimmery green skirt and top. Her shoes matched her outfit. Someone had tried hard.

My heart clutched for Amaya. I instantly knew this feeling. At her age, I'd been dressed in what my mom called "Sally Anne's clothes." Shoes that became too small had holes cut for my toes to grow through. The schoolyard humiliation of such attire can be unbearable for a kid.

I caught Sydney's attention and signaled that Amaya and I were leaving the room for a minute.

"Come with me, my sweet. We're going to get you fixed up."

Right next door in the art studio we found Diane, the art teacher, between classes and showed her the problem. Amaya tucked her bare foot around her ankle and held my hand tight.

Diane used tape, glue and staples to fix Cinderella's slipper.

"This happens to real actors, you know, Amaya," I whispered to her. "Sometimes their costumes get damaged and need repairs. See you Wednesday, okay?"

I learned that I can do anything I like I can be anyone I want I learned that I can do Shakspear.

Well when I was performing in Shakspear I was nerves and scared my fingernails were sweting and I when I all the students I was scared. I didn’t think I could do the hole play and when I sid my part my legs were shaking and I though was not gowing to live.

Well when I was scared up there I just went for it and did my best I was proud if my self when I did my lines.
—Maria, 5th grade

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