I told everyone not to talk to me. All of my concentration had to go into getting through this event.
All around us, teams from around the world practiced their routines. Poor Doug. He sat against the wall, rocking himself. He was so worried because he was unable to rehearse with me. But the spinning made me more nauseous and the tricks sapped me of energy. Meanwhile, Shawn stared off into space, thinking: “We’re not rehearsing. These people must have a lot of faith in me.”
We gathered around Darlene for our pep talk. I blame my illness for my memory lapse. But I only remember her congratulating Shawn for coming this far in such a short period of time. And I remember her telling us to have fun.
What Darlene actually said: “Listen, we’re here for the same thing. We’re here because we love this. Don’t rush through it. Enjoy your time on stage. Except you Melissa. Just get through it. Don’t [go to the bathroom] on Doug.”
As we approached the stage, people on the sidelines gave us high-fives. We followed the lead dancers from ReKreation (who are amazing). We stepped into the light and faced the crowd. And the music started.
Joaquin said that when he took my hand, it was shaking. And when he lifted me, my armpits were hot. Usually, when Darlene goes on stage, she clears her mind; but she said that she couldn’t stop looking at me.
But I was present. (According to photos) I was smiling. But a third of the way through the routine, I hit the wall. I thought: “Whoa. I have used every last bit of strength in me.” But I was already out there. Nothing else to do but push through for two more minutes.
It went great. The tricks were excellent. We could’ve been tighter. Everyone LOVED the costumes. No one realized that I was “hospital” sick.
As soon as the show was over, I left. Joaquin told me to wait while he grabbed our bags; I smiled and nodded but as soon as his back was turned, I bolted. I felt bad but I needed to leave.
I went to the hospital. The good people there hooked me up with two IV bags and antibiotics. I was glad for travel insurance. The cost of the room was $1,200.
At least, it was a memorable show.
Special thanks to Chris and Maria (our photographers extraordinaire who joined us on the trip) for capturing every moment.