A Million Ways to Go: Part 1

Part One of a serialized work of fiction.

A Million Ways to Go: Part 1

Renata Lee


Gwen stormed down the hallway, head down, shoulders slumped, and avoiding eye contact with as many classmates as possible.  How dare Anne say she wasn’t interested in anything but the next YouTube video?  Strands of light brown hair covered her face as she nervously entered the auditorium.  A good handful of students were there, most using their phones.  She sat down on one of the chairs in the back.  Her stomach churned as she thought of what was to come.  Maybe this was a mistake.  As she began to leave, a tall boy with jet-black hair walked in and sat down next to her.  He didn’t seem to notice her because he was listening to something on his iPod.  Gwen gulped as the director’s voice filled the theatre.  Sitting back down, she listened as she explained what was to be required at the audition- a song to be sung from the musical.  After the standard “Do your best” and “Break a leg,” the director walked over to a small table facing the stage.  “Who wants to go first?” she asked enthusiastically.  No one volunteered. “Alright, I will pick the first victim.”

Gwen sank into her chair, trying not to be noticed.  A girl with glasses and a Hamilton shirt was chosen first.  There was a good mix of performers- some downright awful, and some amazing.  After a particularly pitchy girl finished singing, Gwen heard someone whisper, “Holy smokes, my eardrums are about to explode.”

Turning to her right she noticed the boy who had come in earlier.  He had put his earbuds away and was covering his ears.  Gwen couldn’t help but giggle. “Holy smokes?”  He turned to her and smiled.   She blushed and looked down.  “So what role are you hoping to get?”

This guy obviously didn’t take a hint.  Gwen answered anyway, “I don’t know.  Any of them I guess.”  Honestly, she barely knew anything about the musical, or anything about musical theatre for that matter.  She had only seen the movie for the musical once, but she prepared one of the songs the day she found out when the auditions were.  Originally she wasn’t going to go, but an encounter with Anne, her best friend, changed that.

“Cool. It’s good to be open-minded to even an ensemble role.”  He leaned back into the seat and crossed his arms, a smirk plastered onto his face.  Okay, Gwen wasn’t an expert on theatre terminology, but she knew an insult when she heard one.  When the next student finished, her hand shot up like a bullet as she volunteered to go next.  Steaming, she made her way up to the stage.  The performers who had already auditioned left, and the only people there were Mr. Holy Smokes, the director, and the accompanist.  Feeling lightheaded, she stood center stage looking out at the auditorium.  The music began and, despite all her nerves, Gwen was able to sing.  It might have been the reassuring smile of the director, the stage’s comforting smell, or the need to prove something to her best friend and the idiot she just met, but Gwen belted out like she never had before.  Suddenly, she felt the weight of her character’s longing and pain.  For that minute and a half, she was another girl.  There had never been a rush Gwen experienced as strong as now.  When the piano stopped, Gwen felt the whiplash of reality and placed her hands in her pockets to stop them from shaking.  She muttered a quick thank you as she bolted out of the theatre.  Myles just sat there dumbfounded, jaw dropped in shock.