He had been really uptight lately and he got riled about the silliest things, then again, maybe it was just her. She couldn't remember why she even married him in the first place. He was good looking and, at times, could be sweet and romantic. But most of the time, he was irritated and annoyed when he came home. The worst part was; he wouldn't even talk to her about it. And Mandy, she didn't deserve to live like this, she was an innocent eight year old and she didn't need to be exposed to that. Just then, the doorbell rang. Wiping her hands on a towel, she went to open the door. “Mom, Dad! What are you doing here?”
“We came to see you,” her mom stepped through the door, followed by her dad. Giving them each a hug, she invited them into the living room.
“Sit down and I’ll get you something to drink. Coffee or tea?”
“We’ll take coffee, you know that, dear.”
“Right, I did.” Laughing nervously, she hurried into the kitchen. It had been so long since they had last been here. What would they think of her and Andrew? Would they even notice? Hopefully, he would be on his best behavior this week…. or however long they would be here. Pushing her thoughts aside, she carried the just finished coffee and set in on the table in the living room.
Mandy stepped into the auditorium and looked around. Her mother had given her permission last night to go ahead and do the play, but still she hesitated. Dad had said he didn't want her to be in it, but her mom said it was ok. Maybe Dad changed his mind. That is probably what happened. Now that it was settled, maybe they would stop fighting. Hurrying to the teacher in the front of the room, she verified that she would be able to be the princes. After she sat down with the rest of the cast members, the practice began. She soon became the part of the princess. Putting her heart into every word, every movement, she lost herself in being someone else. She was no longer Mandy, her plain house and simple family no longer existed. Temporarily forgetting about everything else, she sang her song with everything in her, then, too soon, it was over. The princess became Mandy again and it seemed like the weight of the world was back on her shoulders. Mrs. Courtney dismissed the class and, not wanting it to end, she hesitated. Taking her time gathering up her things, she was the last one to leave. As she was walking out the door, Mrs. Courtney called her to the front. Thinking she was in trouble, Mandy hesitated. Reading her hesitation, Mrs. Courtney reassured her.
“You’re not in trouble; I just want to talk to you.” Nodding her head, Mandy set her backpack on the nearest chair and hurried to the front.
“What do you want to talk to me about?”
“Do you enjoy doing this?”
“Doing what? Acting and singing?”
“Of course! I like to pretend I’m a princess and singing all by myself…” Suddenly self-conscious, she let the sentence hang. Smiling, Mrs. Courtney walked over and gently put her hand on Mandy’s shoulder.
“Don’t be embarrassed, it’s ok. How would you like singing lessons?” Mandy could contain her excitement.
“That would be great!! But I don’t know if my parents will let me.” At this thought, her smile faded. Seeing this, Mrs. Courtney thought fast.
“How about I talk to them about it? Will that work for you?”
“You would do that?”
“Ok.” And that began a close friendship that would last many decades. A friendship that, even when both of their worlds were falling apart, stood strong.