Stageway to Nowhere | Teen Ink

Stageway to Nowhere

December 4, 2010
By thewriteidea DIAMOND, Pleasanton, California
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thewriteidea DIAMOND, Pleasanton, California
67 articles 0 photos 336 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't cry that it's over, smile because it has happened."

I didn’t know what to say. The lights were blinding me and it was all I could do not to shield my eyes. I could feel the warmth radiating from the lights, but mostly from the alive chemistry before me. A light blush crept to my cheeks and I silently cursed myself. Here Damien was, possibly the most gorgeous man alive, on his knees begging for my forgiveness. Hands together, pleading, eyes wide with lust. From a front row seat, it would seem like he loved me. He looked like he loved me. He acted like he loved me. That one word caught me off guard and reminded me what I was here to do. It’s all it was and all it would ever be — acting. I put my hand on his shoulder like rehearsed, pausing briefly to search for the meaningful words I thought I knew so well. Somehow, though, I just couldn’t find them. Where were they, these words I had practiced so excessively? The man kneeling below me sent me a look, his eyes no longer looking lovingly at me. “Rosalina,” he said, nudging me with his eyes. “Say something. You have to love me. You must!” I stared at him. What was I to say? I couldn’t think like me, though. Not like Annaleigh. I had to think like Rosalina. She was who I was. The character I had become. Gracefully, I parted Damien’s clutched hands, bringing them into mine. “Damien,” I whispered, knowing all ears could still hear me. I paused, ignoring his confused look. I wasn’t Annaleigh anymore. I was Rosalina. “My heart belongs to you and only you until eternity. But my head belongs to me and I cannot ignore it any longer.” I released his hands and stepped away from him. His bewildered expression worked well for him; though I knew this time it wasn’t acting. “You’ve betrayed me for the final time,” I said, not only to Damien but to every soul in the room. My voice streaked confidence throughout as I turned toward him again and said softer, “I love you, but I am Rosalina and I must go.” I looked meaningfully at him, feeling pain and regret and love. I was Rosalina. With that I turned around and exited the stage, not waiting for the curtain to fall. I knew what would happen right before the crowd would erupt into applause. The two pieces of velvet would drop down from their respective corners, overlapping each other, swaying until they finally come to a gradual, peaceful stop. ~ “Great going, Annaleigh.” “Yeah, way to forget your lines.” I kept walking, knowing full well what just happened. I had panicked and improvised. I was not ashamed of it though. I had done what I had been trained to do. And that was act. “And Scott was so confused,” they continued, following me. “Way to throw him off.” “Yeah, way to go,” another echoed. Slowly, I turned around, waiting until I had both of their eyes locked. “What’re your names again?” They rolled their eyes. “We’ve told you like a million times before.” I just looked at them blankly, then headed for the door. “I know you know my name,” Camille called. “I don’t know why you pretend that you don’t.” I turned around, still walking backward toward the door. “It’s called acting. It’s what I do every day, four hours a day, since I was four. It’s what I just did for that entire performance and every show before that. It’s something you two should try sometime instead of just trying on the stage makeup.” They stared at me, trying to read my expression. I shook my head in disbelief and sauntered through the doors. “Annaleigh.” I heard him speak my name and I turned around, already on defense. Scott — the actor who played Damien — was leaning there against the door. “What?” I said, not trying to hide my irritation. “I just wanted to say—” “Yeah I forgot my lines. Whatever.” “—good job today,” he finished. I squinted my eyes. “Excuse me?” “You forgot your lines,” he said, staring at me. I stared right back, not sure where he was going. “But you came right back and just…what’s the word?” “Improvised.” “Yeah! Everyone forgets their lines but it takes a true actress to recover like you did.” He pushed his black hair out of his eyes and waited for my response. “Oh. Thanks,” I said, unsure what to really say. He smiled a crooked smile. “Just don’t do it again ‘cause you made me look bad.” I should have known it wouldn’t be that easy. This was Scott. I laughed and shook my head. “Scott, you’re an ass.” He stared at me in shock, then slowly smiled. I smiled right back. This time, I was Annaleigh. End scene. Exit stage left. ~ I didn’t know what to think as I walked home that day. The wind whispered and wrapped itself around me like a caress. The sun sang with color and brightness, as if trying to cheer me up. I should be used to these bad days, where everything that I’ve tried to block out crashes down on me; but every day after school when I come home and stare through that rusty window, it hits me as hard as the first time. As I approached my house, I saw my mom’s blue truck parked in the driveway. Good. My dad was home. I opened the front door of my house and yelled into it. “Dad, I’ll be in the truck!” then closed the door shut without waiting for a response. I climbed into the passenger seat and waited for him patiently. I looked up and saw him open the door, peering inside. “Crappy day?” I nodded, not even feeling the need to explain myself anymore. He stepped inside and revved up the engine. For a while we didn’t go anywhere; we just sat there on our street — Cornflower Way. It was probably the stupidest name ever. I breathed in the all too familiar smell of my mom. Her new signature scent, though it seemed very old to me. I knew what had become of her, yet here I was, sitting in her truck with my dad. The man who had cared for her, and I, being the daughter that loves her. Loved? Not even I, the romantic and gorgeous Rosalina, knew the answer to that. ~ Living on Cornflower Way was always really important to my mother. We had lived so many other places, I’d say our family just about exhausted all the livable cities in California. My mom was ready for a change. She was forever a city girl, but really, she could fit in anywhere. Despite all this, everyone was surprised when she picked Annville, Pennsylvania to station our family. Yes, Annville, Pennsylvania. No one sane has ever heard of it. Located about 75 miles from Philadelphia, Annville has a population of 4,797 people. It’s an all of 1.58 square miles, so small it’s not even displayed on the Pennsylvania state map. There’s only one high school in this town, grades 7-12. You never meet anyone new. You’re trapped. I’ve lived in this house on Cornflower Way for three years. Three years of suffocation, of feeling like a fly bumping into windows. I couldn’t possibly imagine the reason for living in this inhabitable town. Much less, Cornflower Way. One time while my mom was watching Jeopardy, I asked her what a cornflower was. “Why do you want to know, Annaleigh?” she asked, muting the show. I paused. “Shouldn’t we know the meaning of our street name?” She smiled. “I guess so.” Turning off the T.V., she said, “Come with me, Anny.” I followed my mom into her room, where she pulled out a book from the shelf. On the cover, there was a brilliant blue flower in full bloom sprouting across the entire front. It was dark blue with a purple tint scattered throughout the petals. “Is this a cornflower?” I asked. She nodded. “Isn’t it beautiful?” My mom put the book back on the shelf, as if not to disturb it. Sitting on her bed, she said, “A cornflower is a wild flower that blossoms all throughout the United States. You wouldn’t know it if you saw one, unless you knew what to look for. And as you can see, they are gorgeous.” I nodded in agreement. “They tend to be about 30 centimeters high. They are reliable, stable, and can adapt to all different types of environments.” I stared at the book sitting in the shelf. “What makes them so special, though? Why Cornflower Way?” “I asked myself the same thing when I first came across this street. Why name a street after such an unknown flower? But then I realized that cornflowers, like most things in life, have more to them than what meets the eye. Of course they have to be special for a street to be named after it. There has to be some meaning behind it for the state of Pennsylvania to make it a geographic landmark on our planet.” “And what’s the meaning?” I’d asked her. She smiled as she turned to face me. “Have you ever heard of a cornflower before moving here, Annaleigh?” I shook my head. “But there are so many of them that just grow wild in the most common places of our country. How could you not know about them?” I shrugged. “I don’t know.” “See, cornflowers are just like people. There are so many people in this world, roaming the streets and living their life, but as we walk by someone we don’t know, do we really see them? If we see someone out of the corner of our eye, do we take the time you notice their hair, clothes, or face? No, you wouldn’t, not unless you were looking for someone. “So living on this street, and taking the time to appreciate an unknown flower, is one step closer to getting to know the world. It’s one more person noticed on the street. Noticed for their originality, their difference from everyone else walking along with them, the unique people that they are.” ~ My mother hadn’t always been a b***h. For a small scene of my life she actually played the role of the typical mother: packed my lunch, made muffins in the morning, and helped me with my homework. I could confide in her about my life. She would braid my hair while we laughed just for the sake of laughing. We were the type of mother and daughter that people always asked if we were sisters. We both were flattered, though for different reasons. I was never a big fan of my blond hair. Never was, never will be. However my mother was. She was always reminding me how lucky I was to have gotten my father’s hair genes as opposed to hers. She had grown up wishing she had blond hair. I, on the other hand, really couldn’t give a crap what color my hair was. To me, they were just lifeless white-colored strands attached to my scalp that got tangled when I didn’t brush it and greasy when I didn’t wash it. One night when she was braiding my hair, she suddenly stopped and stared at my reflection in the mirror. “What?” I’d asked, immediately self-conscious. “Nothing,” she said, though I could tell it wasn’t. I gave her a look. “I was just noticing what a variety you have, that’s all.” “Excuse me?” “Look at you, Annaleigh.” She forced me to look at myself in the mirror, one braid undone. Or one braid done. Depended how you looked at it. “Blond hair with a tiny tint of pink in it. And God, those deep brown eyes? To die for. Face it, Anny, you’ve got it.” “Got what?” “It! You’ve got vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate all rolled into one. I never know what I’m gonna get with you. Will it be vanilla? Or is it a chocolate day? All I know is that you’re the whole damn ice cream cone, and a gorgeous one at that.” I remember feeling so safe then. So loved. Nothing could be better than that moment. Then one day it all went to hell. At a young age my mother had been an alcoholic. Couldn’t start, couldn’t stop. All she could do was drink. When my parents met, my father gave her an ultimatum. He convinced her to quit cold turkey. Apparently it had been difficult for her, but she managed to do it for my dad. For her marriage and for her life. Once I even asked her why she had quit. She just smiled at me and said, “Your father made me see the bright side of things, that’s all.” One weekend when I was fourteen, my mom went on a business trip to Las Vegas. I was surprised to discover that my father was not weary that his wife, the former alcoholic, was visiting the drinking capital of the world. Apparently, he “trusted” her. I’d just shook my head. Despite my dad’s faith in her, she returned home drunk and officially back on the wagon. She said her bright side on life had changed and it definitely involved alcohol this time. My dad tried to convince her otherwise, but it was clear her mind was made up for good this time. Suddenly, in just one significant weekend, my sister was gone and my life had completely changed. ~ “Where to this time?” my dad asked then in the truck. I looked down at the leather seats, feeling how smooth they were, yet sensing how tough they needed to be. I saw the broken window next to me that had never gotten repaired. I saw the chipped paint that had never gotten repainted. I saw the cracked windshield that had never gotten fixed. I saw this stupid car that had never gotten sent to the dump. I put my hands on my knees and leaned forward, ready for the familiar lurch of the truck speeding down Cornflower Way. “Anywhere,” I said, “but here.” He nodded, then pressed the gas and together we drove off, leaving the rest of our lives behind.

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