Kassidy James sighed as she tossed her sky blue backpack onto the piano bench that sat in the center of one of the thirty-something practice rooms in the music building of her college and smoothed out her kinky brown curls, which were about a shade darker than her mocha-colored skin.
“Finally,” Kassidy thought aloud, relieved that, after twenty minutes of searching, she had finally found an open room. Auditions for the new musical (written by theatre professor Melissa Kelly) were in three days, on September 10th, 2019, and Kassidy desperately wanted to play Stella Emerson, the middle child of the three sisters around whom the show was centered. She flipped to the audition song, but before she could even begin, she heard a knock at the door. It was her fellow theatre nerd and one of her best friends, David Levy, who had curly brown hair, a collage of freckles on his face, and a silver Star of David necklace around his neck.
“Hey, Kass,” David smiled and waved as he entered the room. “Sorry to interrupt, but any chance you have a minute to listen to my audition song? I’m really hoping to get to play Ben, but I’m not sure if I’ll get it,” he referred to the quirky comedian who catches Stella’s attention in the second act of the musical.
“Yeah, sure. Then can you listen to mine? I really need to practice, especially since I have my stage combat class in an hour, and then I’m busy for the rest of the night.”
David nodded as Kassidy slid over on the piano bench to make room for him and he let his rich baritone voice ring out. After Kassidy finished her song, only around ten minutes later, David reached for his neon orange backpack.
“See ya in music theory tonight,” Kassidy smiled as David reached for the door handle and left the room, checking his phone and sprinting down the hall as he noticed the time and that he was almost late for his ballet class.
It was December 3rd, and the whole university, which had been practically deserted the week before for Thanksgiving break, was now once again bustling, especially the musical theatre department, as their show was opening in three days. Kassidy, who, through lots of those practice room sessions, won the role of Stella Emerson, was about to start her solo in the final number when the theatre doors opened and in walked, on crutches, Ariana Amarilla, Professor Kelly’s TA, who had recently been on leave due to a broken leg she had gotten on a rock-climbing excursion. As soon as she entered, the music stopped, the house lights came on, and everyone rushed to give her a hug.
“Sorry to interrupt,” Ariana quipped. “Pretty sure you all have a rehearsal to finish, and I bet you all want to go to bed, as do I. But I had to come see my favorite people first.”
“Places, everyone! Ten more minutes, and I should be able to get you all out of here!” Professor Kelly called on the wireless mic she kept with her, then reached over to give her TA a hug. “You’re welcome to interrupt us any time, just not at the actual performance.”
Ariana laughed and she slid into an audience seat next to Professor Kelly as the actors, backstage crew, and pit began to reset to finish their final scene of the night.
December 28th, almost the end of Hanukkah that year. David and his parents, two sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were all gathered around the menorah, still noshing on the crispy potato pancakes they had made earlier.
“Can you pass me a latke?” David’s eight-year-old sister, Becca, asked, but their mom replied,
“Wait until we finish lighting the menorah, okay?”
Becca nodded as David’s Uncle Evan began to light the candles and say the blessing, but when they were halfway through the blessing and Uncle Evan had just finished lighting the last candle, there was a knock at the door.
“Sorry to interrupt, but I forgot to give this to David when we came home for the semester,” Kassidy smiled as she held out a box wrapped in blue and silver wrapping paper.
“Come on in,” David’s dad waved in Kassidy, who stood admiring the menorah as David opened the present Kassidy had just given him, which was a comedy club program for three weeks from then, with David listed as one of the performers who had received a coveted spot to share his stand-up routine.
David, who loved comedy almost as much as he loved musical theatre, choked back tears as he gave Kassidy a hug.
“Thanks, Kass. It’s perfect,” David told her, to which she replied, “Well, you are the funniest person I’ve ever met.”
“Ooooh,” David’s sisters made kissy faces from next to the menorah, making fun of their older brother just a little bit.
Kassidy thoughtfully smiled, then just laughed, as David reached to give his sisters a hug and sarcastically replied, “Ugh, shut up!”
“Just trust us,” David’s middle sibling, Aubrey, who was twelve, whispered as Kassidy waved goodbye and headed for the door.
David shouted towards the door, “Thanks again for the gift, Kassidy! And wait, did you seriously drive two hours to give me this?”
“I just really wanted to give it to you in person! Can’t wait to see you perform! Oh, and happy Hanukkah!” David sighed as the door closed and the Hanukkah celebration began once again.
The interruption of March 11th, unlike all these other ones, was certainly not welcome news. Kassidy was sitting at her dorm room desk, trying to finish her biology lab write-up. All of a sudden, she was startled by a knock at the door. It was David.
“Hey, David,” Kassidy began as she swung open the door. “What’s up? I’m trying to finish this bio write-up. It’s a pretty interesting class, but it’s so much work...”
“Kass, have you checked your email recently?” David asked, the fear on his face so uncharacteristic of the goofy, fun friend Kass had always loved.
“Um, no, why? Should I?” She asked, the concern written on David’s face now covering hers as well.
“We have to leave school by this weekend. COVID’s gotten so bad that we have to go home and have all our classes online. Which is gonna be pretty tough as musical theatre majors.”
Kassidy closed her laptop, walked over to her bed, and sunk into her favorite light blue pillow covered in purple butterflies, crying just a few tears, then a rush more.
“Mind if I join you?” David asked, laughing softly as a few tears ran down his cheeks, too.
Kassidy indicated that David could sit next to her, and he came up and put an arm around her.
“I’m gonna miss you a lot, you know?” David whispered. “Especially interrupting you at almost all of your practice sessions.”
“Yeah, that’s the highlight of my day, you know?” Kassidy replied.
They each wanted to tell each other the same thing, but were both too in the moment, and a little too scared, to even consider admitting their feelings, so they just sat together, crying and laughing and processing the latest interruption in their lives.
January 14th (it’s already 2021). Kassidy had just found an open one of the thirty-something practice rooms that she had missed so much.
“Is admitting that I like you a good enough welcome back interruption?” David blushed as he held out a bouquet of yellow tulips, Kassidy’s favorite flower.
“Wow, you’ve really stepped up your interruptions, huh?” Kassidy laughed through happy tears as she accepted the bouquet and David joined her on the piano bench.
“Oh, and this is the gift I wanted to give you in return for your Hanukkah present, but I just...” David stopped speaking and, arms around Kassidy, began to kiss her.
After a moment, once their lips had separated and they looked into each other’s eyes, Kassidy whispered, “I like this much better than six feet apart. Or in our case, a hundred miles apart. Thanks for always interrupting me, David.”
“Anytime,” David smiled as he leaned in for another kiss, and both he and Kassidy realized that while the past nine months had interrupted everything in the worst way possible, it was just an interruption, not an ending. And the interruptions they gave to each other were the most beautiful beginnings.