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My heart pounds, beating out a melody into the cracked vinyl chair. I take a sip from my water bottle, bringing it to my lips before I realize it’s empty.
“Sarah, Madeline, Lara, Jack, Emily, Zach, Henry, Spencer, come with me!”
The teacher’s voice reverberates around the room. I stand up slowly, placing my book on the floor. “Good luck,” my friend hisses in my ear.
We walk backstage, our feet scuffing against the wooden boards that make up the stage. I close my eyes, trying to calm my nerves. It doesn’t help.
“Well, you eight are my group of star-crossed lovers.”
What? My eyes fly open. I’ve been praying for this for weeks.
“Sarah, you’ll play Helena, cast one. Lara, Hermia cast one.”
I stop listening. Hermia! I was so worried I wouldn’t get her part. I dash out into the theater as soon as she’s done reading the list.
Late that night, trying to memorize Hermia’s lines, I begin to realize how beautiful the language really is. And how hard it is to memorize. Maybe it’s my half-asleep state, but the words suddenly make sense. I fall asleep with two scenes memorized and Shakespeare’s word imprinting themselves on my cheek.
The next week goes my and I read. Meaning seeps into every line of the beautiful play. And then there’s Shakespeare himself. Whenever I think of him my heart beats faster, weather in fear or excitement I cant tell.
If you’ve ever fallen in love with someone who lived hundreds of years ago, I pity you. I know how hard it is. Every night I fall asleep with the play, reading to myself and writing in the meanings of the words.
I memorize my part. We block the play. Opening night comes. And as the curtain opens, I realize it’s not Shakespeare I love, but his words. And there are more of them waiting for me.