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  • Writer's pictureMalia Lukomski

Singing into an Empty Room

It has been over a month since I last stepped foot on a stage. I am confined to my parent’s house. I have shoved my belongings into boxes that still haven’t been unpacked. My days consist of bursts of motivation and spirals into depression. It’s pretty exhausting.

On the whole, things are a little better. My bad moments are outweighed by the good. I am writing from my mother’s office surrounded by stage makeup as I wash off my contouring project and get ready to apply old-age makeup.

It isn’t what it’s supposed to be, but nothing is.

The thing I can’t let go of, though, is that final performance.

Since October, I have been curating songs and scenes that represented my time at Augustana University. Some are old audition songs, others from performances long gone. Others are songs I discovered while here but never got the chance to perform live.

Six solo songs. There were supposed to be duets too, but that isn’t really possible anymore.

I can’t stop playing them, singing them, even when no one can hear me. I can’t stop imagining what it was supposed to look like to have that last night on that stage with this music carefully picked out to show my growth and my potential.

It was supposed to be my senior project. That’s changed now.

Six songs. Sondheim, Pasek & Paul, Will Reynolds. Classic musical theatre, brand new musical theatre; songs I performed and songs I never got to. Funny songs, sad songs, songs that make my voice crack at just the right moment.

I was so excited to hear from the people I have learned from that I had finally done it. I had finally reached the final point of learning and could move on to throwing myself at the mercy of the professional stage.

I won’t get to have that.

Instead, I sing those songs as I write final papers and apply stage makeup alone. I sing those songs while I put together puzzle pieces at my kitchen table while my mother works from the bar. I sing those songs in my room when the thought of getting up and being productive feels like moving mountains.

One day, I hope, I can sing those songs to an audience who will feel every moment of loss and joy and frustration that I have put into them.

I hope they’ll be as moved as I imagine them to be.

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