Chapter Five: Juggling


      Something had gone terribly wrong that day.

     We 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.

     I was 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.

     This time, the rehearsal would just have to wait.

     I was 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.

     He appeared unaffected.


     He 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 the dark.

     I got 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.

     I am ashamed to admit my child was the very last person to leave his school that day.

     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. 

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