P. 1
26 Minutes

26 Minutes

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Published by Sandy Sessler

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Published by: Sandy Sessler on Jun 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Waiting was the hardest. It always was. But now, sitting in the cold, train station waiting for the 9:15 from Omaha, it was almost unbearable. Ilyana shifted in her seat, as if changing her position would change the situation as well. But, it wouldn’t and deep down in side, she knew it. Ilyana looked around the station and saw the faces of a myriad different souls also waiting. They were either coming or going. Each with their own trials and tribulations, joys and sorrows. What each face would be able to tell if they had the chance. Ilyana had her own story, but she wasn’t in the mood to share with anybody, just at the moment. She glanced up at the large round clock on the wall and saw that in her dreaded anticipation, she had arrived almost half an hour early and now she would have to sit and wait. With each ticking of the clock’s minute hand, her heart beat twice as loudly. “Stop it, Ilyana,” she chided herself. “You’re a big girl, now and there’s not a thing to be afraid of.” “Excuse me? Did you say some thing?” she heard a voice ask her. She looked up from the wad of tissues she had been clutching in her hands and saw an elderly woman sitting on the bench next to her. “Were you speaking to me?” the woman asked again. “Oh. No, no. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was speaking out loud,” Ilyana replied, her face flushing pink with embarrassment.



“You know, it’s usually just old women my age that are afflicted with that problem,” the woman chuckled. Ilyana noticed how her eyes crinkled when she laughed. Her eyes were a deep, piercing blue. Much too blue for a woman of her obviously advanced years. Ilyana smiled back. It helped to lighten the mood she had been trapped in all day, anticipating the 9:15. “Waiting for someone?” the woman asked, noting there were no signs of luggage at Ilyana’s feet. “Yes,” she whispered, looking down at her feet. “That’s nice. Me, too. My grandson. He’s coming to visit for a week. Haven’t seen him in a long time. He’s been traveling in Europe all summer,” the woman ranted on. Ilyana could tell the woman was very happy that she was about to have a visitor. It wasn’t going to be an unwelcome intrusion. Not like Ilyana’s. The woman looked more carefully at Ilyana. She felt her face flush, as the woman’s gaze turned into a prolonged stare. As if she were being examined under a microscope. Ilyana stared backed into the disintegrating tissues. “What’s your name, child?” the woman asked. “Ana. Ana Skye,” Ilyana said. She gave her stage name. It truly was the name she identified herself with. Ilyana Oustanskaya was the girl from Omaha, Nebraska. The girl that left home to find her fame and fortune in the theater. Well, she had found neither fame nor fortune and now her father was coming to reclaim his daughter and return her to the life she had tried so hard to escape. “What a pretty name. Bet it’s not your real name, though,” the woman said with a wink.



Ilyana was taken back. How did she know? “I’ll bet you’re an actress,” the woman said. “How did you know?” Ilyana gasped. “I was an actress once. I think there’s always something in the eyes. Something far away. I don’t think we live entirely in the real world with mere mortals.” Ilyana sat dumb-founded. This strange woman with the deep-lined face and the striking blue eyes seemed to have a foothold into some part of Ilyana’s world. When she was finally able to speak, she asked the woman her name. “You may call me Lee,” she answered. “Do I know you?” Ilyana asked. Lee laughed. “Know me? You mean have you seen my work?” Ilyana blushed again. This woman had a way of disarming her. Ilyana looked up at the clock. 8:56. 19 minutes to go. Her heart took an unexpected turn. “Are they making you go home?” the woman asked, breaking into Ilyana’s momentary preoccupation. Ilyana gasped. “I thought so,” the woman said. “I could tell that from your eyes, too.” Ilyana lowered her head and the tears started to flow quite unexpectedly. Lee put her arm around the girl and Ilyana’s tears turned to sobs. “There, there. It will be alright. I promise. It will be alright,” she said, smoothing Ilyana’s long, blonde hair.



“No. No, it won’t. He just won’t take no for an answer. He gave me one year to make good and now, he’s going to take me back. I’m going to die back there. I just know I will.” “Now, now. Let’s not be too melodramatic. Save that for the stage,” Lee reprimanded. It made Ilyana’s tears stop flowing. “But you don’t understand. He won’t take no for an answer,” Ilyana pleaded. “Oh, but I do understand,” Lee explained. And then she told of her own story. The one that divulged an overbearing, abusive father that tried to beat sense into his senseless daughter. A daughter that wanted to earn a living, not from marrying well in life or obtaining a position in a reputable company as a secretary or clerk, but from the disreputable profession as an actress. “You might as well work in a brothel,” he said in a drunken rage, before he split her lip and blackened her eye. But it was the last time he touched her, because she packed her bags and never looked back. Ilyana’s mouth had dropped open in the beginning of Lee’s story and remain ajar until the end. She would never have suspected that the old, wrinkled woman sitting next to her could have had so much spunk. And to stand up to your own father. Unthinkable. No matter what the abuse, she thought. “How badly do you want it?” Lee asked, in a frail voice. The revelation of her past appeared to have taken a slight toll on her. “What do you mean?” “There are those in life who dream dreams. They think they are very big dreams, indeed, until they are asked to prove themselves. Then, when rejection or obstacles rear their ugly heads, they put their tail between their legs and crawl home. It takes more than



dreams. It takes spunk and belief that you can accomplish something very special…if you pay the price. And there’s always a price, my dear. Usually a very steep one. So, I ask you again. How badly do you want it?” Ilyana sat very still. She didn’t know what to say. How badly did she want it? Hadn’t she had the dreams of becoming an actress as long as she could remember? Yes. They were very big dreams. Was Lee right? Once she was asked to prove what she could do, did she give up too easily? But it was her father’s decision to come get her. She had pleaded with him to let her stay, but he was adamant. She looked at the clock. 9:10. Five more minutes. Her stomach was churning with undisclosed anxiety that was making her nauseous. But was Lee right? Had she failed to strike a bargain with herself…a bargain that would keep her resolve when the obstacles came. Or did she secretly want her father to take her away from the pain of rejection and the hard work that would identify her in her trade? Did she want the easy way out? “Someday, you’ll be sitting on a bench at my age. What advice will you have to give, Ana?” Lee said. Ilyana heard the arrival announcement overhead. The clock read 9:15, exactly. She felt Lee’s hand squeeze hers. “Good luck, dear, whatever you do in life. And whatever you do, do it with belief in yourself.” “Thank you, Lee,” Ilyana said, as she stood up to greet her father coming across the lobby. Ilyana ran to meet him with a big hug. She realized that it really was up to her. She just had to truly know her own heart and stand by the strength of her convictions.



“Daddy,” she said, as she kissed his cheek. “Ilyana, sweetheart,” he responded with a hug and kiss of his own. “Wasn’t that Lee Jorgensen you were talking to?” “Who?” “Lee Jorgensen. The great Broadway star. You know, you saw her on the stage when you were just a little girl. When I took you to see your first play. It was her farewell performance before she retired. You told me that night that someday you were going to be an actress just like her.” Ilyana stared down the long, dark corridor. She could just make out an old woman linked arm in arm with a young man, as they turned the corner and disappeared out of sight. “Yes, Daddy. I am going to be an actress.”


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