My routine with Ben changed once we started rehearsals for our school play. I got cast as Viola, in Twelfth Night. That’s right, the lead of a Shakespeare play! It was kind of a big deal. Since this was a “prestigious” performing arts high school, (I hate the word prestigious, but I’m using it), other schools in the Orleans Parish would be bussed in to see this production. It would also get listed in the newspaper. I was on cloud nine. Yahooooooo!
When Mr. Peters, our handsome middle-aged acting teacher who was often angry, announced the roles, my jaw dropped. Blood rushed to my head like a Thailand tsunami. Did I hear him right? Did Mr. Peters really say my name? I felt everyone’s eyes on me forming an opinion. Did they think I didn’t deserve it? I tried not to show my classmates how happy this made me, but holy hell I was ecstatic. I wanted to scream… I’M VIOLA, MOTHERFUCKERS while pounding on my padded bra chest. I wanted to jump up and down and give everyone a high five like I had just scored a winning home run in the final playoffs. I wanted to kiss Mr. Peters on the lips and say, “sorry I had to… ” followed by me seductively taking the pencil that Mr. Peters always had behind his ear.( He would flick us on the forehead with his pencil whenever we gave the wrong answer or upset him). I wanted to hold the pencil like it was an Oscar and eloquently make an acceptance speech. Something about never give up on your dreams and remember to tip. And everyone would laugh and laugh and laugh…
But no. Mr. Peters continued on declaring the rest of the cast. My eyes shifted to each person who was announced with their role and then to the floor like it was a Windows 95 JezzBell game. After all the names were called, Mr. Peters left the room.
“Class in 5!”
I was afraid that if stood up, Mr. Peters would change his mind. So I continued to sit and bask in the fluorescent lights above. A few people congratulated me. I smiled and nodded. My imagination ran wild, but in reality I was speechless. I was so sure that Laura, the pretty one/smart one/thinner one in my class was going to get the part. She had already been memorizing and studying Viola’s lines. Laura had everything I wanted. A perfect family (mother included), a beautiful home on St. Charles Street (a street with million dollar homes), and Jack’s attention, (my all time crush).
To be continued….