Cynthia checked herself in the front hall mirror one last time. Everything was perfect. Her hair, shiny black in a stylish cut that came down to just below her chin, her make-up she’d spent over an hour and washed it off twice to start over again but it was finally perfect. She’d picked out the outfit carefully to look casual and fun but still be dressy enough for this audition. She gave herself a nod and put her purse strap up on her shoulder. She was going to rock this.
“Come give me a hug before you go,” Cynthia’s mom called from the kitchen. Cynthia checked her watch. She had twenty seconds.
Mom was making dinner, carrot bits flying from the wok as she stirred hard and fast. Cynthia didn’t want to get too close. It wouldn’t look good to have greasy vegetable shreds on her blouse when she was doing her monologue.
"Bye, mom.” Cynthia waited until her mom stopped stirring and leaned over to give her a hug and a kiss.
“Drive safe, and good luck.”
“Thanks.” Cynthia wasn’t sure if her mom meant that part about good luck. Mom had always enjoyed going to Cynthia’s plays, but as soon as Cynthia said she wanted to audition for the arts magnet school, mom had got a little scared. "You don’t really want to be an actress," Mom had said. "What a terrible profession, especially for a woman!"
Cynthia stuffed down her irritation at the memory of her mom’s words, and instead let her monologue run through her mind. Can’t we all look at one another… goodbye to clocks ticking… do any human beings ever realize life while they live it… maybe she shouldn’t do something from Our Town. It was so last millennium. No, she liked it, and it was kind of classy. At least her musical selection was something modern, and she wasn’t singing something from Wicked like everyone else on the planet.
Cynthia pulled her car keys out of her purse and opened the front door. She was half-way to the parking lot when she noticed something was wrong.
Her car was gone. All the cars were gone. There was nothing in the parking lot but a big truck with a hose out the back of it, and some guy spraying water on the asphalt.
Bewildered, Cynthia stood and stared. Then she ran back to the house. “Mom! The car is gone!”
“What?” Mom hurried past her to take a look out the front door. “Oh! The repaving. That was today? Well, they could have…” Mom stalked across the parking lot and cornered the guy with the hose. I couldn’t hear what they were saying over the spray of the water, but Mom was giving him a good shout-down.
Mom came back at a run. “Your car’s been towed over to the visitor lot by the office.”
“What?” I wailed. That was half a block away.
“Come on,” Mom said. “I’ll drive you. I’m faster.”
I ran after Mom across the empty parking lot, headed toward the apartment offices. My perfect hair was going to be a wreck. Someday, if I ever had to play someone who was about to loose everything she ever wanted, I could come back to the absolute desperation of this moment.