Celia | Teen Ink

Celia MAG

October 6, 2022
By downthegardenpath BRONZE, Fredericksburg, Virginia
downthegardenpath BRONZE, Fredericksburg, Virginia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If I leave my grin behind, remind me that we're all mad here, and it's okay." —S. J. Tucker, from "Cheshire Kitten"

The last five months of my life have led up to this moment.

The stage was cold, as most are — the unfeeling cinder block walls steal the heat from the air, tensing the shoulders and sending goosebumps up and down the arm. The air smells empty — the great expanse of nothing diminishes the otherwise muddled scent of tens of thousands of strangers sharing the same space for a few moments.

Silence. I hold the wooden board by its cold brass handles. I can already feel the tenseness of the room poisoning my psyche and creeping up my spine. The ghost light spills its somber echo onto the black sea below, casting long shadows. I wait in silence before the red line is drawn to separate the wing from the stage — safety from showtime.

I look at Kai — my nervous expression is mirrored back at me. We exchange a nod.

Gazing out into the audience, three cold, mechanical clicks resound off the
theater walls; three lights appear in the audience. The cough of a man does little to dispel the taut atmosphere. The red exit signs in the theater well, ever crying their dire warning, cast a sullen glow over the stark blue seats of the auditorium.

Looking across the stage, I see Katie, her rickety wooden cart in hand. She glances at me, and gives the thumbs up. 

Here goes nothing.

The click, click, click of the emcee’s heels resound across the stage floor, the rear walls of the theater reflecting its hollow dissonance. With clipboard in hand, she takes a breath and clears her throat.

“Mountain View High School, your time begins now.”

The author's comments:

This piece is part of a longer work detailing a competition that my high school drama club competed in back in January of 2020. We performed a play that we wrote ourselves, called The Celia Project, which was pitted against three other high schools in the area to determine who had the best performance—a fierce competition indeed. This piece is meant to give the sense of foreboding and tense anticipation that comes in the moments leading up to a performance. 


Note to the Editors:

I know that the title Celia can be ambiguous, especially if the above statement is not included; I'd be willing to change the title of the piece should it be deemed necessary.

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