Before I know it, I’ve played my piece to the finish. I take my hands from the keys and then turn to look at the crowd. Everyone suddenly erupts into cheers and clapping. The audience stands to their feet. A smile breaks across my face. My eyes travel the crowd until I see mom. She’s got tears in her eyes and she’s on her feet. Dad isn’t standing beside her.
I search around for him, but he isn’t there. I take a quick bow and hurry from the stage. Several people tell me how great I was. My teacher gives me a hug before she takes the stage again. Someone calls my name and I spin around to see mom coming my way.
“Oh, baby, you were so good.” She beams as she hugs me tightly.
“Thanks, mom. Where’s dad?” I ask, expecting him to walk up behind her.
She strokes my hair and gives me a reassuring smile, “He had to leave early. He saw half of your piece though. Something at work came up. He had to run home to take care of it.”
“This late at night?” I questioned.
“I’m afraid so. You know your father handles the account for a big, powerful business. If something wrong doesn’t matter what time of day, they’ll call your father.” My mother explains.
I nod, “Okay.”
“I’m sorry, baby. He wanted to see the whole thing.” Mom apologizes.
“It’s fine, mom. At least he saw some of it.” I give her a small smile.
Mom’s phone buzzes to life a moment later. She pulls it out and squints down at the screen. “That’s weird. It’s just a bunch of letters from your father.”
I laugh, “He must have butt texted you again.”
Mom laughs as well, “You’re right, he probably did.” She dials dad’s number but it goes straight to voicemail. “He’s not answering.”
“Typical.” I tease.
“Well, why don’t you say goodbye to everyone, alright? Your father sent the driver back to pick us up.”
I nod and then step away from her to find my friends. It doesn’t take me long to say goodbye to everyone. When I find mom again, she’s talking with my music teacher. Mom notices me and then says goodbye to my teacher. Mom leads me from the concert hall and outside. The car we took here is waiting by the curb. The driver with the car gets out. His suit looks a little more rumpled than it had been before, I ignore it. I tell him to thank you as he opens the door for mom and me. We slip inside.
We drive a few minutes back to our house in silence. The driver opens the door again, bids us goodbye, and watches as we walk up the front lawn to our front door. There are no lights on the inside except for dad’s office. Mom pushes the door open.
When mom steps inside, she instantly slips in something. Mom curses and then leans over carefully to switch the front room light on. As soon as she does, and we see what mom tripped on, we both scream.