The Incident

Submitted into Contest #123 in response to: Start your story looking down from a stage.... view prompt


Inspirational Coming of Age Fantasy

The Incident

If there’s one moment where I can say I’ve truly never felt more alive, it would be right now. Looking back on it all, I wouldn’t change a thing. As I stand on stage, looking down at the same Nike Cortez’s I wore when my life fell apart, I recall a time where life was going nowhere. 

Life lost purpose. It was more than just a blip in the way; it was as if someone had ripped my heart out, put it in front of me to watch it break. A series of unfortunate events; a sudden death in the family, a parent acting out of grief, a wrench thrown in a life plan, a dream disappearing. 

Emotionally tethered, scarred for life; I honestly thought it was over. Scared out of my mind, I had no clue what to do. 

It was years ago that one night, closing at work. I always play music when I’m closing, something about me that everyone knows I do. I like to queue up songs that set the vibe. Helps me get through my shift faster and make late night shifts more fun. This night, the music kept stopping, on and off for what felt like the longest time. 

5 minutes. 10 minutes. 15 minutes pass. 

I finally caved in and checked my phone to see what was going on. 

Frustrated, I unlocked my phone, thinking it may be some glitch. To my dismay, my notifications were flooded with many calls and texts from my mother stating it was an emergency. My father had gotten hurt and claimed a different story. 

The worst part was reading there had been a call to 911.  

The thought of cops, paramedics, firefighters possibly swarming our house freaked me out a bit. I remember rushing to one of the closing managers, my heart racing. 

“Hey, I know I asked to stay longer, and I’d usually never do this, but can I leave early please? My mom called and said there’s an emergency; my dad fell and I need to bring him to the hospital because—”

“Go. We’ll be okay. Thank you for letting me know. Drive safely, hun.”

The genuine concern from my manager that night reminded me of how lucky I was to work at a job where our managers actually care about us. It’s one of the biggest reasons I stayed at this part-time job.

I remember I thanked her and quickly grabbed my things from the break room. Pacing back and forth in the parking lot waiting for my uncle to pick me up felt like forever. Time was not going by fast enough.

When we finally got to my house, I remember I had a solid 5 minutes before there were firefighters crawling up and down our stairs. Checking on my father. Asking my mother if she was okay. 

My whole life changed that night. Chaos wasn’t new to me, but this was entirely new. There was a line crossed. Suddenly, the drive I had from previous weeks to work on myself, to do better was gone. Uncertainty was always in the air; uneasy tension between myself and my parents. The term ‘family’ became unknown to me. 

I went through that entire week with a heavy heart. Classmates at school sensing something was off with me. Co-workers asking me if I was okay. I was so disassociated from the rest of the world. I spent all of high school being one step behind, longing for the adventures everyone had. In college, I thought it would finally be better, but chaos always seemed to follow my life. Despite all the horrible events that took place in my life, I tried to hold on to the mentality that these events occurred only because the worst things happen to the best people. 

I tried to tell myself that it would all be worth it. That once I rose above all the adversities, I would be so strong that the chaos thrown at me in the future wouldn’t even phase me. That all these terrible experiences would make me a better person, friend, future parent & artist. 

What happened made me think it was a massive sign to give up. I mean, I had to give up being in the music program I have always wanted to be in. One that only accepted few students every year. The incident that just took place at home made me decide to withdraw to extenuating circumstances. Broke my heart to leave the program while it was just starting. 

“Be realistic” echoed in my head for weeks. For the first time, I believed the garbage saying “dreams don’t pay the bills”. To honestly be realistic, what would the world be without people with dreams? Inspiration would be a joke, innovation would be non-existent, imagination would be irrelevant. 

The truth is, we need people to dream. We need young people to know that their dreams can come true. All it takes is one person, with so much passion, belief in oneself and hard work to attain said dreams. I was never the gifted vocalist or the prodigy instrumentalist, but I have always been so passionate in my craft and that is reflected heavily in my music. And that’s something that those close to me can attest to. 

You can sing catchy tunes and follow the trends, but trends, as they have their peaks, also have their declines. You only stick around for so long. Authenticity and genuineness are traits music these days are lacking, which diversify you from everyone else. It enables you to connect with others, let them feel your feelings and emotions through the lyrics and melodies you’ve created, even if people haven’t experienced what you have. That is impactful, inspiring & very important.

I have always been asked why I push so hard for a career in music. Pursuing another route that’s more straightforward would be easier, right? Go to school, get a high-paying job, make a living; bada bing, bada boom! But taking the easy way is like jumping into a pool with no water. The splash keeps you alive. The splash is living with a zest for life by following your dream and purpose in life - one that will be incredibly important that it sparks inspiration

Turns out my dream is my purpose. I’ve always wanted to change the world, aspiring to inspire others by using my voice. My voice is found through my actions and most importantly, through my music. Every chord progression has been used, every genre has been explored, but it’s about how you create your own sound, blending the old school with the new and making music that is your own. 

I want to leave a footprint behind while I still have the time. When my time is over, I want people to say that I’ve inspired generations to come and sparked massive change in the world through my actions and music. That is my purpose. 

And standing here on stage, reminiscing about a blast from the past, thinking of all my experiences in my life, I know I wouldn’t have fulfilled my purpose if it wasn’t for the incident that one night. I wouldn’t be who I am right now standing on stage, to a crowd of thousands of fans on the last concert of my tour in my hometown if the incident those years ago that night never happened. 19-year-old me wouldn’t be able to believe that there is hope even in the most difficult times. I wouldn’t have believed that I would be meeting all these beautiful people, telling me their stories, how my music helped them. Seeing my lyrics inked on their arms, my melodies floating in their playlists. There may be darkness in the world, but it takes darkness to bring out the light.

So I stop looking down at my shoes, slowly look up and take a moment to take it all in. I take a deep breath, briefly close my eyes, opening my arms as the crowd cheers uproariously for an encore. Smiling, I open my eyes to a wave of flickering lights, and I grab the microphone to sing one last song to remind everyone that there is always hope. 

December 06, 2021 10:23

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David Partington
23:41 Dec 15, 2021

The narrator's discussion of her goals and her passions seemed real and insightful. I wasn't sure what happened to her father, wondering why he wasn't going to the hospital in an ambulance, and why, if it was up to the narrator to take him to the hospital, she was waiting for her uncle's car. Apart from my confusion in that area, I thought it was good, Your writing feels smooth and natural.


Michaela Edo
04:33 Jan 25, 2022

Hi David, thank you for your feedback! I appreciate you taking your time to make this comment; it relieves me to know that the flow of the writing was on point. In regards to what happened to the father in the story, I didn't want to dwell too much on the details of the night, but rather focus on the growth of the narrator. In the story, the authorities were aware of what had happened, and it is stated in the story that firefighters checked the father for vitals and any signs of injury. To answer your question though, the firefighters notifi...


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