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Ready or Not

Ready or Not

Description : Ready or Not

Twenty Years Ago

I stood on the large stage and quietly bent forward, smoothing the tiny wrinkles out of my pretty pink taffeta dress. The fabric glittered and shimmered as I moved under the bright spotlights. A simple satin bow sat high on top of my head, and dark ringlets curled down my back, reminding me of all the princesses Daddy would tell me about at bedtime.

Looking around at the crowded room and the large audience standing before us, I couldn’t help but smile.

I guessed I was kind of like a princess now.

“Stop fidgeting, Olivia,” my mother whispered next to me.

Her pale pink coat matched my dress, but it wasn’t nearly as pretty. It made her look old and stuffy. I liked it better when she used to dress in shorts and sandals, and she’d dance with me in the sprinklers when the weather got too hot and sticky to stay indoors.

I heard a tapping sound as a microphone came alive. My attention turned to the front of the stage as the crowd exploded in applause.

Smiling, I watched my daddy step out from behind the curtain, grinning and waving, as he passed by a sea of red, white, and blue. Signs bearing his picture and name were bobbing up and down amid the crowd, and I soon found myself covering my tiny ears to block out the thundering noise.

Slender polished fingers wrapped around mine and tugged my hands back down to my sides. I looked up to find my mother wiping tears from her eyes. She gave me a tight hug, and then she whisked away salty trails that had made their way down her cheeks.

“He’s no longer just ours anymore. Things are going to be different from this moment on,” she said.

I glanced back at my father, who was now standing at the wooden podium. After thanking everyone in the room, he turned around and motioned for the two of us toe forward....