Trip Reports

True Paradise Part 2 of 3

After rehearsal Puddin’ and I went back to our room, we decided to sit in the living room area which as I said earlier was outside. I started getting really panicky so I started recording the beach and the water and the people walking around and talking to myself, trying to convince myself that I could and would actually do this. Puddin’ kept trying to reassure me that I would do well. He told me that he thought I had a wonderful voice and that I shouldn’t be afraid to share my gift with others. Now yall know, I wasn’t even trying to hear that. I wanted him to tell me that I shouldn’t do it. I wanted him to support me backing out and you know what, he didn’t. We started getting ready for dinner at about seven o’clock.

The show was to start at nine and we were to meet backstage a little before then. I couldn’t even eat my dinner my stomach was in knots and I was drinking like a fish and couldn’t get drunk to save my life. I couldn’t even get a buzz. I drank three rum punches and some blue drink to no avail. There were three of us guests performing and wouldn’t you know it? Guess who had to go first? I thought I was gone die. The rest of the performers were staff at the resort. So the line up went like this……. Staff dance routine, Dora sing, staff dance, Chad play guitar and sing, staff play skit, Carmen sing, staff sing and so on. So I’m begging and pleading not to go on first and they all say, you got the song that is going to grab their attention, we need you to nail it. No pressure huh? OK, here I go, knees wobbling, heart racing, sweat beading up on my forehead. I look over at Carmen (friend I met from Memphis) my backup and I tell her, “I’m getting ready to bail.” She goes no way, I’m up here, and you have to stay up here. I give her a look like, oh yeah, watch this. I look out at my Puddin’ and he’s fumbling with the camcorder. I kind of smile and the music starts playing. Here I go………….. I’m getting tired of yo s—, you don’t never buy me nothin’. See, every time you come around you got to bring Jim, James, Paul and ………… Did you guess it? Yeah, I sang Tyrone by Erica Badu. I tore that song up, my eyes were closed most of time and at one point when I thought I couldn’t finish it, the audience started cheering and clapping and yelling, “sing that song girl,” don’t be scared. I did indeed finish the song and when I was done, I forgot to take a bow, I just ran off the stage and Chad was right there, I was shaking and crying and he hugged me and kissed my cheek and told me that I had done a wonderful job and for me to cheer him on when his turn came.

When I got to the table with Puddin’ he hugged me and asked my why I was crying and I told him for two reasons: 1. That I was so nervous that I thought I forgot the words and 2. That I was able to conquer a fear that has held me hostage for years. Next came Chad, he played his guitar and sang a song that he wrote. He was really good. I think he was a professional and I did as he asked and I stood and clapped and cheered for him. Carmen came out later and brought the house down. She sang three songs. I found out later that Carmen has been performing since she was two and is currently in a band. That ‘gurl can sang’. We laughed later about how she was my backup. I knew that she would finish the song if I bailed out and it would still sound good. That is one night that I will never forget as long as I live. After the show was over they called us all back up to the stage and at that point I was trying to crawl under the table cause I really didn’t want to get back up in front of everybody. They kept calling my name and Puddin’ raised his hand and pointed at me; till they put the spotlight on me and I had to get up. They gave us all a bottle of rum that had Lion Courage on it. I laughed and thought to myself, “shoot they should have given me this before I came out here!” We were standing around talking after everything died down and this man walks up to Carmen and me and asks us if we were the two that were from Memphis and we both say yes. He says he is from Memphis also and he wants to talk to us about doing some recording in a studio. I told Carmen good night and I ran out of there. Yeah, I know too much excitement for one night. Puddin’ was excited and my head was beginning to hurt. At that point I just wanted to lie down and forget. One hurdle at a time, too much, too fast and I just was not ready for all of this.

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