Chapter Five: Juggling
Something had gone terribly wrong that day.
drove up and found my six-year-old son sitting alone in the dark at the
bus stop in front of Thornhill Elementary School. He knew he was to wait
there to be picked up each day. Today, wires had been crossed, and the
person who was to pick him up after school had not.
in grueling daytime rehearsals for Berkeley Repertory's Kabuki Medea.
It was a professional play that required the cast to rehearse throughout
the day. I thought the arrangements I had made for Tariq to be picked up
from school that day were made clear. I called to make sure he had been
picked up and got the news he had not been and would not be. I dashed out
of rehearsal to get him.
time, the rehearsal would just have to wait.
without a car at the time, so a fellow actor offered to take me. We were
excused from rehearsal and sped in her white convertible Alfa Romero on
the freeway to get my son. I prayed all the way. I asked the Lord to
protect my child until I could get to him. Finding him untouched, I burst
out in tears, grabbed my son, and placed him in my arms.
knew the life of his mother. He knew I was an actor and a juggler. He also
knew he would be taken care of. He knew someone would eventually come to
pick him up. He truly demonstrated an act of faith as he sat obediently in
chills as I realized there was not another person in sight at the school
that evening. Only occasional lights from passing vehicles pierced the
darkness. The school was secluded amongst trees in the suburban Montclair
hills of Oakland, California.
ashamed to admit my child was the very last person to leave his school
Despite the balancing act of trying to be a good mother and having a professional career and love life, I was still determined to be a working actor.