Glimmerglass - By Jenna Black
The absolute last straw was when my mom showed up at my recital drunk. I don’t mean tipsy—I mean staggering, slurring, everyone-knows drunk. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, she was late, too, so that when she pushed through the doors and practically fell into a metal folding chair at the back, everyone turned to glare at her for interrupting the performance.
Standing in the wings, I wanted to sink through the floor in embarrassment. Ms. Morris, my voice teacher, was the only one in the room who realized the person causing the disruption was my mother. I’d very carefully avoided any contact between my mom and the students of this school—my newest one, and the one I hoped to graduate from if we could manage two full years in the same location just this once.
When it was my turn to perform, Ms. Morris gave me a sympathetic look before she put her hands on the piano. My face felt hot with embarrassment, and my throat was so tight I worried my voice would crack the moment I opened my mouth.
My voice is naturally pretty—a result of my ultra-secret, hush-hush Fae heritage. Truthfully, I didn’t need the voice lessons, but summer vacation was going to start in a few weeks, and I’d wanted an excuse that would get me out of the house now and then but wouldn’t require a huge time commitment. Voice lessons had fit the bill. And I enjoyed them.
My heart beat hard against my chest, and my palms sweated as Ms. Morris played the introduction. I tried to concentrate on the music. If I could just get through the song and act normal, no one in the audience had to know that the drunken idiot in the back was related to me.
Finally, the intro was over, and it was time for me to start. Despite my less-than-optimal state of mind, the music took over for a while, and I let the beauty of “Voi che sapete,” one of my favorite Mozart arias, wash over me. Traditionally sung by a woman pretending to be a young boy, it was perfect for my clear soprano, with the hint of vibrato that added a human touch to my otherwise Fae voice.
I hit every note spot on, and didn’t forget any of my lyrics. Ms. Morris nodded in approval a couple times when I got the phrasing just the way she wanted it. But I knew I could have done better, put more feeling into it, if I hadn’t been so morbidly aware of my mom’s presence.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I was done. Until the applause started, that is. Most of the parents and other students gave a polite, if heartfelt, round of applause. My mom, on the other hand, gave me a standing ovation, once more drawing all eyes to her. And, of course, revealing that she was with me.
If lightning had shot from the heavens and struck me dead at that moment, I might have welcomed it.
I shouldn’t have told her about the recital, but despite the fact that I knew better, there’d been some part of me that wished she would show up to hear me sing, wished she’d applaud me and be proud like a normal mother. I’m such a moron!
I wondered how long it would take the story to make the rounds of this school. At my previous school, when one of the bitchy cheerleader types had run into me and my mom when we were shopping—a task she was barely sober enough to manage—it had taken all of one day for the entire school to know my mom was a drunk. I hadn’t exactly been part of the popular crowd even before, but after that … Well, let’s just say that for once I was glad we were moving yet again.
I was sixteen years old, and we’d lived in ten different cities that I could remember. We moved around so much because my mom didn’t want my dad to find me. She was afraid he’d try to take me away from her, and considering she isn’t exactly a study in parental perfection, he just might be able to do it.
I’d never met my dad, but my mom had told me all about him. The story varied depending on how drunk and/or depressed she was feeling at the time. What I’m pretty sure is true is that my mom was born in Avalon and lived there most of her life, and that my