Nostalgia

A quick update:

The reading on Monday went great. The play has its issues and needs a good editor, but it’s funny and scary and surprising. People seemed to really enjoy it. Plus, it’s a fantastic part for me, and, frankly, reading plays out loud is one of my favorite things in the entire world. Add an audience in a theatre where I saw a show I LOVED, and you’ve got a very happy girl.

Tuesday is a sassy day for me… I have my least favorite class, a singing class, and the stress of prep and performance for that class just irritates me beyond all get-out. Perhaps a year ago (well, perhaps my entire education career prior to this) I would have put my feelings aside and just work 123% to impress the teacher. I would have studied what she wanted so that I could give it to her and acted like her advice was the be all and end all.  Now, though, I know that what she is saying is ridiculous. I get more nervous than I was before the class before I sing, but I also have a stronger sense of myself as an actor. I know that I can act. I won’t let her push that out of me.

Lately, with Spring Break approaching, I’m getting ridiculously antsy for woods, mountains, lakes, and clear, crisp air. New York ain’t got it. This is where I’m from:

I’m also homesick for where I went to high school. In other words, this:

That is me and my ex-boyfriend, my first love, my first time, and all that good stuff. This photo, while lovely, makes me sad because it was indescribably hard to leave that place. I mean, imagine: you’re a loner in your high school. No one understands what your dreams are, and there’s no way to fulfill them. Then you spend two years living in what amounts, basically, to an artist’s commune. You live with the same people, you train with the same people, you kiss and fight and dream with the same people. Then, when May rolls around, you are handed a diploma and a golden tassle. Your family swings into your sacred place and sweeps you home instantaneously. Suddenly you realize that there’s no going back, and that you may never see these people again. There is no way to go “home” to this place. It’s lost.

So here’s to a little writing and some nostalgia.

It’s already dark as midnight when you push your way through the double doors of the theatre complex into the five o’clock evening. The air is sharp and clear, the nip on the tips of your nose a sure sign of early snow. You’ve had a full day of classes already, and the night has only just begun. The morning began with an early alarm set to Shostakovich and the perfectly timed morning rituals of showers and hair dryers and alarms that is necessary for four teenaged girls sharing one bathroom. I still can’t stay in the shower for more than five minutes.

The groggy stumble into the cafeteria, fluorescent lights the only barrier against the still-dark, bitter-cold early morning. Breakfast is the quietest meal here, with only the most dedicated breakfast eaters willing to rise before the sun and trundle, bundled, into the bright, hot cafeteria. Here the best meal is the bagel breakfast sandwich, closely followed by the omelets. You don’t think about what’s in the food you’re eating– you eat. Strangely ungreasy donuts are dunked in burnt coffee, and the sun begins to rise beyond the lake. I reminisce on the days when food simply existed– all you had to do was get up, put it on a tray, and eat it with your friends. It was a part of the routine. I never thought about it.

At ten til, you find your way out of the cafeteria, following a small girl with a cello case across the main quad. The early morning light seems to shine almost blue in the thin morning air, cheeks and noses burned with the sharp drops and rises in temperature. The classes blend smoothly through the morning– 8am Tales of the Jazz Age, in the room that’s cloyingly sweet and warm with freshly brewed coffee, 11am Acting Shakespeare, where suddenly the weight of the Complete Works and lexicons you’re carrying become light and your brain begins to whirr, 12pm finds you trudging across campus in the flurry of gossip towards lunch, sneakers crunching and spinning over gravel, and with barely a moment to stride up the stairs towards your dorm room to throw your books on the bed and glance at your email, your sneakers are again whipping down the pavement until 1pm, Senior Seminar, a circle of ten bright seniors who love to journey through the world of knowledge and produce 40 page essays with dozens of citations which are gleefully shared, and by 3pm you’re in rehearsal. It’s the day of your big monologue, and your nerves spark in time with your heart. As you work through the text, the director talks to you– his words, his thoughts, penetrating into your own, gently guiding. Soon he is on the ground with you, whispering, provoking, and the two of you traverse through the monologue together. It’s brilliant, and suddenly you realize you’re no longer scared.

Dinner passes in the same flurry as lunch, and again you find yourself moving through the chilled, dark evening across the quad. This time of day, music floats in the air, buoyed by swells of warm air that drift past and dissipate. You find yourself in the library behind the desk, your community service job. This library is new– ceilings high and beamed, windows wide and clear,  carpet as-yet unruffled. You watch as students come and go, spread their books out over a table, and lean distractedly towards the computers. You check out, or check in, the books that come your way, but mostly, you lay your Complete Works flat on the desk, lexicons at hand, notebook pages freshly turned, and you work. The brain whirr returns. You’re good at this. You’re good at it, and you love it.

Faster than expected, 9pm arrives. You hear a “Hey,” as a pair of hands rest on the desk in front of you. You look up, and it’s him, smiling at you, come to pick you up, to relish your sparing moments together. You grin, and it feels like your heart wraps twice around itself and squeezes tight. In an instant, you gather your things, kiss his lips, twine your fingers around his, and you set off.

There’s only an hour before you need to be in your dorm, so time is not on your side. It’s cold, and the dark has seemed to spread, like an inkblot, over the campus. Coat lapels flipped up, shoulders leaned against each other, you slowly walk towards the east side of campus, past the main concourse, past the row of dorms and the film building, to a grassy patch with a perfect view of the stars. You lay down, the sides of your bodies bonded together, backs to the earth, which feels as though it’s frozen over. You talk, about nothing in particular. Perhaps about the stars. Perhaps about your irritations. Perhaps about each other. It doesn’t matter– you’re good at talking. Talking turns to kissing, and kissing turns to five-to-10pm. You peel yourselves from the frozen ground, link together once more, and skitter down the path towards your dorm. Before you round the corner to go in, you stop, and you kiss him. You laugh, and you kiss him. You smile, and you kiss him. And then you turn the corner and he is gone.

In your room, you curl up into your desk chair and open your textbooks and notebooks. Your roommate, a violist, is scratching dedicatedly at a piece of sheet music. You work for a bit, and then crawl out of your chair, through the bathroom (which smells like recently Febreze-d smoke) and into your suitemate’s room. They’re gossiping, laughing, eating Japanese candy, and soon you are too. There’s work to be done, sure, but also massages to be had, Veronica Mars to be watched, and boys to be discussed. The minutes tick by, and soon you can feel your eyelids grow heavy. It’s time for bed. You hug your suitemates, swing around through the bathroom, and jump into your bed– the top bunk. Your fingers dig into the side of the mattress, where you keep your cell phone and your glasses, and you plug in your alarm. You have a text message from the boy– he’s the only one who texts you. You call him. You talk, about nothing in particular. Perhaps about rehearsal. Perhaps about your mother. Perhaps about each other. It doesn’t matter– you’re good at talking. But you’re also tired, and soon, the conversation slows to a crawl and you say good night. Your roommate, getting into bed below you, sighs and whispers her goodnight to you and to him (she knows the routine and loves the sweet night chats), and as you click off the lamp and settle, squeakingly, back into your wooden bunk bed, you whisper, “I love you.” And sleep comes within moments.

Oh boy! Thanks for indulging me, guys. Sometimes, a girl’s gotta write!

B

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