Katherine St. Jean
I stared off into the bright lights. I tried to hold a big smile as I stood there, the whole audience staring at me.
I had to pee really bad.
And then, I just let it all go.
It happened at my dance recital years ago, when I was about five or six (so I was in kindergarten). This was my annual spring dance recital on the little stage in the back of my dance studio. ‘The Black Box’ as its called, is used for mostly plays and not as popular shows where we couldn’t afford an actual theater. The walls are all black, to match the floors and ceilings. Hence the name, the black box. Not many people come to the spring ballet because it’s not always a real ballet, not as popular as our Nutcracker or end of year recital, and it’s usually just parents in the audience. Nevertheless, the room is always packed full.
That year I had been cast as a flower, and I had a soft pink tutu with petals on top and a light pink leotard with pretty flowers and jewels of all colors and little mesh butterflies poorly hot glued to it. And blue eye shadow.
Lots of blue eye shadow.
My dance was about 2 dances away and the vicious dance moms were lining us up backstage. I don’t know if it was because I was nervous (or just drank too many Honest Kids juice pouches before) but I really had to go to the bathroom.
I waddled over to one of the backstage moms. “Can I go to the bathroom,” I asked.
“After your dance,”
“Can I please go to the bathroom,”
“I said after the dance, Katherine”
“But I really need to go…”
“Ugh…” I moaned at her, still trying to convince her.
“Get back in line -your going onstage soon.” I waddled my way back into the line, the urge almost killing me. I was NOT happy with that mom at the moment, so back in my spot in line and gave her the angriest glare a little girl could manage.
The door to the stage swung open and within seconds we were all in front of the crowd with the music staring.
The squeaky classical music blared through the speakers. The lights were blinding and all you could see was the figures of people out in the audience like ghosts. You could hear they’re whispers faintly under the music. I danced -a few plies and tondues- and then ran to the back of the stage to end in a pose. The older girls ran on and started dancing while I stood in my pose for the longest time.
It felt like forever. The older girls skipped around and jumped up and down and then repeated that over and over and over. I had to pee so bad it was almost killing me. I was counting the seconds until I could get off stage. But they just kept skipping around. I tried so hard to hold a smile to my face as I felt the audience’s eyes on me. When could I get off stage?
And then I let it all go.
It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I didn’t hear any loud gasps in the audience, so I can only hope that no one saw. I had this twisted smile on my face, but I couldn’t stop. My bladder had burst and it was just flowing out of me like a river. My tights and leotard were wet, and I bolted off the stage, tears running down my face. I kept running until I retreated into the bathroom.
Now thinking about it, I’m not sure what happened on stage after that. Did they keep dancing around? Did they shut off the lights as the little girls ran around horrified? I hid in the bathroom for maybe 15 minutes, locked in my stall completely mortified. More and more people eventually were looking for me but I was too ashamed to come out. My flower costume with petals and pretty flowers and jewels of all colors and little mesh butterflies was all soggy. My blue eye shadow was smeared down my face along with my mascara. So, now I know to go to the bathroom before dancing.