Brooke walked down a wide and curvy staircase and entered a large and sunny room which opened up onto an outdoor's area where she found Wanda with others sitting beside a pool where the sun's rays hit the water and sent shimmers of light across its surface.
Brooke embraced the morning air, dressed lightly, the warmth in the sun's rays helped to relax her as did the tropical gardens surrounding the outdoor's room and lagoon style pool.
While not a gardener, Brooke recognised many exotics in the gardens which too grew well in Australia such as dahlia's, gladioli's and spider lillies. There were palm trees, which were not familiar to Brooke, coming from a dry and hot climate, rather than sub-tropical and a multitude of evergreens which framed the lush, green grounds and bordered the pool's edge on one side.
The effect the sub-tropical environment had on Brooke pre-empted Wanda's welcoming gesture as she motioned Brooke to a chair. While nervous anticipation still niggled at Brooke, it abated as Wanda poured her a cup of tea.
Brooke accepted and settled in as a morning worker asked her if she’d like eggs and extras. Brooke thanked her and nodded.
Brooke returned Wanda’s smile and looked around the eclectic group. Brooke did not know then, there too were transgender dancers in the mix.
‘Brooke,’ said Wanda. ‘Please meet some of our dancers. We are about to launch an 8 week show and this is a pre-celebration to get everyone into the groove so we can shine.’
Brooke nodded and acknowledged the huge pool of talented dancers surrounding her. They stared back at her impassively before returning to their conversations.
Brooke’s breakfast arrived. She ate quietly while the group chattered until Wanda spoke, ‘Brooke, now that you are feeling better, you can return home.’
There was silence except for the laughter of the dancers, bonding over shared passions as they got ready to spend 8 weeks together on the road.
Brooke spoke bit by bit, ‘Wanda……before the accident, I was awaiting news of ….. an audition. I haven’t heard…. . ' She paused and then continued.
'I was sharing with two others who had a lease on an apartment. They were working locally and I then toured for 3 months but held onto my room. I've been awaiting the news....about the audition, so I was planning to sell my car, regardless..and if not successful....return to Australia.’
Wanda reflected on this then spoke gently, ‘Brooke, there was no car with you, only your bag on the side of the highway when you were found. If what you say is true, then your car may have been taken, perhaps stolen….’
She looked at Brooke thoughtfully and continued, 'I believe if you had been successful with the audition you would have heard. You have been through trauma, Brooke and you need to go home, be with family and recover..’
Brooke chose her words carefully and replied, 'I’ve now changed my mind…..I want to stay.….’
Wanda reflected upon this and quietly replied, ‘Brooke, you can stay a short while, another week…..at the most....’
Suddenly, the laughter of the dancers erupted as one got up from the group and dived into the pool. There were screams and commotion as music from a phone broke the morning’s tranquility and the group burst into spontaneous dance around the pool’s edge.
Pseduo Echo-Funky Town by Adis
Wanda laughed at their exuberance and led Brooke inside. She commented, ‘Let them go, it’s great to see them blow off steam, good for the group and good for the show…’
She motioned to Brooke to sit down on one of the conversational sofas inside the palatial home. The din from the music and screams of the dancers as they pushed one another into the pool rang out loudly from inside.
Wanda got up and pulled the sliding French Doors closed and returned to the conversation.
‘Is there someone I can call? ‘What about the Director of the Troupe, surely he will need to know what happened – maybe he can help and your family, they will want to know you are safe?’
Words tumbled out of Brooke. ‘There’s no point, Frances has returned. Of course he is supportive and my family too but they don’t understand... my Life, what I do ….what I want...’
Wanda asked, ‘Brooke…what do you want…?’
Brooke replied softly, ‘I want to stay, I want to stay here, find work….I dance, that’s all I know to do…’
Wanda sighed and paused before speaking, ‘Ok, I’ll tell you this. Cinpre is touring across the USA. His people are one of many who choose our dancers. There are auditions in 10 days. I’m happy for you to stay and try out. If you’re successful, we’ll sponsor you. If not..... then Brooke,’ and Wanda was steady in her gaze as she spoke, ‘you will need to fly home…’