Sierra was not used to these type of events, she never had to worry about getting funding or what it was even like. She would have never even been in this type of situation if it were not for the boy... man standing in front of her. She knew what she had to do but why was she not doing it? Why was her brain and mouth not in a strong connection with one another, why did it feel like she was a baby with a limited vocabulary and could not speak in full sentences or comprehend what others were telling her. She had to snap out of it, there was a warm sensation rushing through her like a melting of an ice cap when Archer mentioned her mother. All she had to do was look at her mom, and as simple as those words were, she could not bring herself to do it before. She did not have the same support coming in here tonight as she did in this second with Archer's thumbs moving over her upper arms, encouraging her, and providing her emotional support. No one else got it, and she did not know if anyone really got it, but she felt like Archer got her. Enough to know this was important to her that if she was the reason the funding did not go through? She would blame herself forever.
She moved, peeling her eyes away from Archer and to the direction he was pointing, taking one step forward after taking so many away from the stage. The gray haired man, who was clearly cradling the fence on if he were excited for Sierra to speak now or if he should take the mic once again. But he stood there, clapping for her instead, as did the crowd as her body fully turned towards the crowd. "Okay, I'm going to do this," she told herself as she moved and could have easily froze up again. She could hear her breaths catching into the mic and that there were so many faces staring at her that she wondered if she were going to hurl or run off stage. Almost forgetting the very thing Archer told her to do before she caught her mother's gaze right in time. It seemed to give her enough courage to speak instead of standing there like someone who was unable to speak. "Hi..." she leaned forward into the mic anxiously.
"My name is Sierra..." she told the crowd like her name was not written in their programs for them to follow. "If you see me any other day of the week, you might find me in a pair of royal blue scrubs, my hair up in a messy pony tail, and I will be trying to count my steps on my fitbit to see how many steps I've gotten in at the hospital today. Which I can tell you is a lot. I am a nurse, but I am also a daughter of a wonderful woman who just so happens to be a victim to this wretched disease, Alzheimer's." she paused as she stared at the crowd able to let her gaze drift momentarily away from her mother, an uneasy feeling began to stir in the pit of her stomach. How a room full of unknown, but rich people, were going to listen to her story. "May 2012 our family received the diagnosis that changed our lives forever."
She talked a lot after that, and she spoke about the kind of person her mother was, the kind of person her father was and why she deserved this chance. Not Sierra, but her mother, it was hard to speak of some of the memories because they included the one person who could not be there tonight. Her father. She had done enough damage control because people were clapping, and she had a moment to reflect on the kind of person her mother was before the word hospital bills came into their every day conversation, medications, and appointments. Worry. Pain. Fear. She smiled at her mother and did not care if that was the way to exit a stage or not - she walked over to her mom and gave her the world's longest hug and kissed her on the cheek.
Sierra knew she was not in this on her own, her aunt was staying with her, and Archer's family - for unknown reasons - was still willing to help pay for this clinical trial for her mother. So, she knew what she had to do once it was said and done. She had to talk to Archer. Meeting up with him was easy after he made it his sole responsibility to be there for her tonight, and she did not have a touch of hate running through her veins. At least, not tonight. "Hey," she greeted him in an uncharacteristic sheepish manner; Sierra knew Archer, they were not strangers. Not even close. Nothing about this tonight was her. "Thanks for saving my ass up there tonight," she told him, gesturing towards the stage with a smile beginning to form.