iAm at play rehearsal

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Jeremy Heere
"Is this where you meet for the play?" I ask a little too loudly.

Christine looks around the room. "No, it's where you meet for the swim team."

I look around for the right place to meet.

"I'm joking." She says.

"I'm Jeremy!" Oh shit! Why did I say that? "I mean...um..."

"A-Are you okay? You seem nervous."

"No! I always...sweat this much."

"I get. You're a virgin!" What?!?!? "First play rehearsal!"

"You think I'm nervous about the play?"

"Why else would you be shaking? A lot."

"Uh...yeah! Just totally freaked!"

"Okay. I'm a little jealous, actually. You never forget your first play rehearsal. Coming here is the highlight-"

"Of your day?"

"Of my life."

"I love play rehearsal, because it's the best!" She squeals quietly. "Because it is fun. I love play rehearsal and I get depressed as soon as it's done. But not depressed as in like 'kill yourself' depressed. No, I'm not into self-harm. Dude, I swear, here check my arm!" She pulls back her sleeve to show me her arm.
"See, I just use the word to emphasize a point, show the passion I have got. I am passionate a lot." I nod. I can tell.
"I have mad, gigantic feelings, Red and frantic feelings about most everything. Like gun control, like spring, like if I'm living up to all I'm meant to be. I also have a touch of ADD. Where was I?"

"You were talking about play-" I try but she cuts me off. Why do I even try?

"Oh, right! I love play rehearsal. 'Cause you are equipped with direction and text. Life is easy in rehearsal. You follow a script so you know what comes next. Anywho the point that I'm getting to is sometimes life can't work out in the way it works out in the play. Like the only time I get to be the center of attention is when I'm Juliet or Blanche DuBois.
"And can I mention? That was really one of my best roles, did you see that? Yeah, I was incredibly vulnerable, I think. It made me feel like there aren't strong roles for women in the theatre these days, particularly high school theatre. Do you find that? Because I totally find that."

"Uh...yeah."

"And no matter how hard I try, it's impossible to narrow down the many reasons why. I love play rehearsal. I happiness cry whenever it starts! It's just so universal getting to try playing so many parts. Most humans do one thing for all of their lives, the thought of that gives me hives! I've got so many interests that I wanna pursue and why am I telling this to you? Guess there's a part of me that wants to. 'Cause we're here at play rehearsal and it's starting. We're starting. It's starting soon."

"So, uh...where's everybody else?"

"Guess it's just the two if us."

A crowd of the popular students rushes in the room. Rich motions me to get off the seat. So I sit on the ground.

"Has this theatre always been here?" Chloe asks.

"Oh, thank god the popular students have arrived." Mr. Reyes says happily. "Hello everyone! My name is Mr. Reyes. You may recognize me from Drama Class; I also work in the cafeteria."

"Oh yeah." A few kids realize.

"Thank you. I've been dreaming of the day where I get to stage William Shakespeare's classic 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'."

"Yes!" Christine squeals.

"And today, that dream dies-"

"What?!"

"And is reborn! Only, slightly mutated. If theatre is to survive, it must remain relevant. Which is why our production will be set in a post-apocalyptic future. Instead of frolicing with faries, there will be fleeing from zombies."

"Does no one care about Shakespeare?" Christine asks.

"The man is dead. Let it go. We will take a 5 five minute break so that I can eat a Hot Pocket."

The populars leave the room going, somewhere else. But, Jake stays behind. I was going to find Micah, but I wanted to hear the conversation.

"Hey!" Jake calls out to Christine. "You were in that play last year."

"You mean 'Romeo and Juliet'?" She asks.

"Yeah. You were the girl that died."

"You mean Juliet?"

"Yep! Woo, that was depressing." Jake pulls up a chair and takes a seat.

"Thanks."

"But, you were good. I'm Jake."

"I know." There was a long pause. "It's Christine."

"Cool. Can I say something stupid? When you died in that play last year, that was like the saddest thing I felt in a long time. It was like...all of the pressure I felt to be the best at everything all the time." He punches the air a few times. "Suddenly just...felt small." Jake shrugs. "Then at the end, when you got up and did your victory dance!"

What is happening?! Jake is flirting with Christine!

"Bow!" Christine laughs. "It's called a bow!"

"Right, right. I just remember thinking 'Man, I'm glad this girl's not dead before I got the chance to know her'. Stupid, right?"

Yes! Very! Now leave!

"That's not stupid at all." Chrstine says.

"Cool. Hey, a bunch of us are going out. After practice today. You should join us.' Cause parting is such sweet sorrow. Cut!" Jake exclaims before he leaves. I pack my backpack before I walk up to Christine.

"So I, uh...heard this thing about how humans aren't evolving anymore-"

"I'm sorry, did you say something?"

"Forget it." I say, pointing at her. Once again there's been a takedown. I guess it could have gone worse. At least I didn't have a breakdown and have to go to the nurse. I don't wanna be special, don't even need to survive. I just wanna know that Christine is aware I'm alive.

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