“New York, New York!” I sang
“Why do you have to loudly belt out that song every time we go to this city, Johan?” My mom asked.
“I’m practicing my theatre skills.” I had to if I wanted to be on Broadway one day.
“Okay, well are you hungry? We can stop at a diner if you want some dinner.”
I was feeling a little hungry. Although I wanted to keep my lean physique for the girls at this program.
We stopped at a small diner on an empty road in Connecticut, where I got the late-night special meal, which consisted of a double stacked bacon, cheeseburger with onions, a side of curly fries, some chicken tenders, and a biscuit. I also ordered a shake because I figured it was like a protein shake just with ice cream instead.
“So, are you excited to start at Broadway Bound Dance Camp? You get to spend all summer living in a dorm and pursuing your passion.”
“Can we please not talk about this right now, mom? I’m exhausted.”
My head started to feel fuzzy. The next thing I knew, my back was on something hard and uncomfortable and my body swayed from uneven movement. I woke up in the backseat of the car after that with boxes of my food right next to me. My mom swerved into another lane, almost causing me to fall off the seat.
“What happened?” I asked.
“You passed out sweetie, so I got your food to go and carried you out to the car with one of the waiters. Everybody in the diner laughed at you as we left.”
“You know, nobody was forcing you to tell me that last part.”
She just turned on the radio and started singing to her favorite song: It Happens Every Time by Dream Street. At least the song kept me awake. I had no idea why I kept passing out randomly. The vodka had to be out of my system by now.
This time, I woke up in a plushy hotel bed and the sun was just peeking in through the blinds. I had to figure out why this kept happening. I also had no idea how my mom kept managing to move me from place to place. Maybe a hotel employee helped this time.
I slept most of the last few days. What made it worse was checking my notifications and seeing TONS of photos of Tory and Mike from the past week. They kept commenting miss you ❤ on every damn one.
“Sweetie, before you start camp we have a doctor’s appointment,” my mom said, coming out of the bathroom with a hotel towel on her head.
Before I knew it, I was in an office in a skyscraper in downtown Manhattan. The people below all looked like multicolored ants from this high up.
Despite the cool view, the room itself felt depressing. Everything stark white and plain. I had to say, old man Dr. Grundl was nothing like hot Dr. Tootie in Maine.
“Well, I have some good news and some bad news.” Dr. Grundl said.
I asked to hear the good news first because I needed a morale boost.
“Well, the good news is that it’s nothing serious. The bad news is that that’s because I don’t take this job seriously.” He then dropped his stethoscope and left. My mom and I waited in the same room for an hour before another doctor was able to see us. Apparently that guy didn’t even work there. He was just a man who camped outside the hospital and must have snuck in. The real doctors then came in and put me under anesthesia.The LAST thing I wanted was to get any more sleep.
At least I thought I was put under anesthesia. Apparently the doctors drew blood to see why I kept losing consciousness, and the second I saw my own blood I passed out.
I woke up in a twin-sized bed in an empty room. I heard whispers from outside the room. It sounded like my mom and the real doctor. Apparently, The doctor THOUGHT I have low blood sugar and I need to double my calories intake daily, or else I might pass out even more.
My mom thanked him and then took me to a buffet for dinner! She basically piled my plate with everything I hate in the food world. Fried this, greasy that and the kicker: a hot fudge sundae with extra whipped cream. It was safe to say I had about 3,500 calories in one meal.
The good news was that I didn’t feel like going to bed. The bad news was I stayed up all night and had to be at dance camp by the crack of dawn. If only I didn’t start passing out because of my health food craze and drinking binge. New York had already started out interesting and I had only been in the city limits for a day.
“Johan, how are you feeling?” my mom asked when she woke up.
“I didn’t sleep at all,” I mumbled.
“That’s great news! I already called your dorm advisor and she promised that you would be watched closely all summer and have all your meals monitored.” Damnit, I thought. I would be the laughingstock and I hadn’t even moved in yet.
Before checking out of the hotel, my mom stared at me while I ate brunch. When she said I had enough, we entered the quintessential yellow taxi and sped off toward 54th and 8th avenue, the location of my summer dance program.
The dorm was so close to Broadway that I practically squealed. Arthur and my mom spent a fortune sending me here, but I told them that I wanted to be on Broadway as a dancer, so they let me apply. Even after years of classes, I was surprised that I got into the eight-week intensive program. Doing well gave me my best shot at getting into the Boston Conservatory Dance Division at Berklee. I had my sights on a B.F.A in Commercial Dancing before moving to Manhattan to make my Broadway debut.
“Wow, I can’t believe we’re here,” my mom said, taking in the view of the skyline from my double dorm room. Everyone had to share a room with one person. Only 26 students were accepted into the incoming senior program. The students going into other years of high school were separated into different floors and classes.
“Yeah, I can’t believe orientation starts today.”
My mom helped me carry all of the clothes and personal items that I’d need for the summer. The program provided us with a comforter, pillows and sheets. Besides the basics, all I had to set up was my photo of Mohammed, Mike and I at Six Flags New England, my laptop and a poster of Les Misérables: my favorite musical. This small space would be my home for most of my summer and I had a feeling things were about to get interesting.