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“Scarlett Isabelle Hart,” she said out loud to herself at a volume only she could hear.
“Scarlett Isabelle Hart, you can do this, you HAVE to do this. Sarah got you into this mess, and you are going to get yourself out like a strong, capable person.” Wow, that sounded so cliché, she thought to herself.
Just then, the woman next to her, in a confident tone, said, “You’re up.”
The knot in her stomach tightened.
The curtain opened. The spotlight is all that she could now see, feel, and think.
It was a dreaded Monday, the day every student hates. Scarlett walked to homeroom, elbow to elbow with her best friend, Sarah. They took their seat, just like any other Monday morning. Finally, after 10 minutes of small talk, homework, and staring off into space, Mrs. Schwartz finally stood up to walk to the board.
“Hello class,” she said, “I have an announcement that I think ALL of you will love.”
The class froze.
Scarlett could hear whispers from all around her trying to guess what it could be. She heard one girl squeal,” Oh my gosh, we’re getting a class puppy!” and another one excitedly murmur, “School is cancelled for the rest of the year!” and another huff, “Don’t be idiots, obviously we’re getting an ice cream machine installed in the cafeteria, duh.”
With an eyeroll, Mrs. Schwartz continued, “Class, we will be having a school wide talent show this Friday evening at 8:00. Invite your family and friends. We encourage dancers, singers, musicians, actors, magicians, and acrobats to feel free to perform. But please, no fire this year- we don’t want the same mess as last year.”
“Whatever,” Scarlett thought to herself. “I’ve only ever sung in front of Sarah, there is no chance I am ever signing up.”
“Hey,” Sarah whispered from the seat next to her, “you should sign up, you are an amazing singer.”
“No,” she said, followed by reiterating what she had just thought.
Then the bell rang, and Scarlett ran out the door, without realizing Sarah was not behind her. In fact, Sarah was still in the classroom, permanent pen in hand, finishing off the last letter of her best friend’s name. “There we go, Scarlett Isabelle Hart, you’ll thank me later,” she said with a smile and skipped off to her next class.
“You did WHAT!!!” Scarlett screamed loud enough so the entire cafeteria stopped talking and gave a judgmental glance at her table. “I can’t believe you would do that to me, you jerk, you know I have stage fright.”
“Scarlett, you’re being a big, babbling baby. You have got to get over this. Your mom signed you up for voice lessons for a birthday present and you refused to open your mouth. You need to be pushed; you’ve stayed in your comfort zone for far too long.”
After what seemed like an hour of silence, Scarlett finally managed to squeeze out of her mouth the one word that Sarah needed to hear, “Fine.”
After four days of vigorous practice, warmups, and tea drinking, she was ready.
Friday classes flew by. Math, Homeroom, English, French, Lunch, Science, Social Studies, and Religion all seemed like a blur.
As soon as the bell for the end of school rang, Scarlett was out the door, ran home, and before you could say Luciano Pavarotti, she was in her bedroom practicing with her sheet music and hot tea.
Eventually, 7:30 hit, and again, Scarlett raced out the door in tall black heels and a black dress. After all, Scarlett wanted to look as beautiful as her song was. She reached the school, and again raced to the auditorium, where she saw all her family and friends in the audience. It was packed- every seat was filled.
Scarlett looked at the list of acts and saw that she was last. The knot in her stomach that had been there for the last few days was beginning to tighten. As Scarlett watched dancers, acrobats, singers, and magicians go on, she paced back and forth, going over the song in her head and giving herself a pep talk.
“Scarlett Isabelle Hart, you can do this, you HAVE to do this. Sarah got you into this mess, and you are going to get yourself out like a strong, capable person.”
And just like that, it was time.
Scarlett walked to the center of the stage, while being blinded by the spotlight. She was unable to even see anyone in the audience.
The music started.
The audience silenced.
And Scarlett began to sing. “I dreamed a….”
It was like a beautiful ribbon- soft, delicate, and flowing forth with such ease.
The next thing she knew, the song was over, and the audience was standing up and cheering louder than they had the entire night.
This was the day that Scarlett Isabelle Hart fell in love with the spotlight.
Arlington Heights, Illinois
La Vergne, Tennessee
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