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“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." – Roald Dahl

They Hear Me Loud and Clear

They Hear Me Loud and Clear

November 15th 2013, 6:25pm

I suffer a fit whenever I abrade my newly cut nails on fabric. I don’t know how to fully describe to you how I feel, but simply put, I hate it. It sets my teeth on edge. I had cut them that same morning.

I remember how my triangle shaped nails sank into the fabric of the red-black plaid I was wearing. I remember how I was shaking behind those curtains of the school auditorium, my faint heart threatening an outburst. I remember clutching my oversized shirt tight enough that it stretched far over my middle and the sudden laugh that bubbled out of me when I heard my mama in my mind telling me to “stop fiddling with your shirt, Khushi.”

I remember that it was dark back there, the darkness was constant, engulfing, and my only comfort was the familiar feeling of my mama’s voice and the snaking of my nail.

The curtains opened and with baited breath, I was pushed into the light.

——

 November 15th 2013, 4:30pm

“Have you charged the camera?”  

Mama’s always asking that question. I imagine that a while before the show, they are sitting on the black Ikea chairs that we have circulating our dining table.

My papa will hum an agreement and there’s a content silence afterwards. If they weren’t going out later, they’d be on the big beige monster in front of the television, determining what newly released movies they want to watch: Captain Phillips or Now You See Me?

Their hands are warmed by the hot milky tea that they love. They welcome the serenity that forms on their windows in the form of small droplets.

I’ve always thought that it was funny that my family drinks so much tea. We chug it down like its water, three times a day without fail. What’s even funnier is this one special mug that we have. I went mental the first time I saw the little insignia that reads “there’s always time for coffee” on the front of the portly mug. It was a little ridiculous that when they went shopping, they bought this out of everything, they probably have a method to their madness.

“This is good for her, I’m happy she’s getting this chance, we should get ready, there’s only two hours left.”

That’s right papa, only two hours left.

That’s a daunting sentence if I’ve ever heard one. Don’t you think?

——

 November 10th 2013, 9:05am

Mama hates unkempt nails. And as I’ve said earlier, I cringe at the feeling after they’ve been cut. When I tell her that I would rather keep them unruly and natural because they look better that way, she jabs: “the naked truth? you’re just lazy.”

My face rumples up at the accusation. I’m a big drama queen. She’s telling me she doesn’t like that face I’m making either.

By now, we’re glaring daggers at each other. I wish she would just leave it. She tells me to cut them. I tell her they look fine. Then she brings papa into it.

I end up cutting my nails. I work at them, brooding. Then she walks right up and informs me to “cut them in three steps, a clip on the right side, a clip on the left and then a small one in the middle.” What a ridiculous way to cut fingernails. I’m about to tell her that but when I look up, I only see her heart of gold, and an involuntary smile lights up my face.

I feel that same ghosting happiness even now, when I have someone who cares enough to nag me.

November 15th 2013, 6:25pm

An announcement booms out of the speakers and into the 600 seater auditorium and I feel weightless. Mobile phones switched off, as there are only fifteen minutes left, please take your seats and deep breaths, because I can do this.

The premier of Ten Years Later is beginning shortly, the actors have spent nights on memorizing and attended long rehearsals. The lights are buzzing and the speakers crackle.

I can steel myself.

The curtains open and there is black amongst the red seats. I search and search and then I find. In the fifth row, dead center, my parents are there with their large bulky cameras and I walk out smiling, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

I purposely trip over my feet as I’ve been directed to, and see the unpleasant red mush of my shirt when I look down, the red color triggers an alarm bell in my brain and that feeling of failure resurfaces.

But my natural instincts kick-in, egging my tongue to lose the lethargy and I feel the first words of my monologue surge out of me. I look to the familiar faces in the middle section of the audience and the fear gnawing at my neck drains away swathed by the warm smiles. And I know that I have broken out of the darkness of the curtain, I know that they can hear me loud and clear and a warm glow of anticipation of thunderous applause envelopes me.

 

Rationale of “They Hear Me Loud and Clear”

The narrative details the most important month of my middle school life: when I first begin to put myself out there by acting in theatre productions. The internal conflict is the always present fear of failure that prevents me from trying my best. The exposition is set behind the school auditorium, and multiple words such as “hate”, “dark” , “fainthearted” and “bated breath” all fall under the semantic field of the uneasiness of my character. The mention of my nails and my parents serves as a contrast to the fear of failure, as I aim to distract myself with scenarios that I am comfortable in. There is evidence of me doing this in the text, specifically this sentence: “I remember that it was dark back there, the darkness was constant, engulfing”, and the contrast being, “my only comfort: the familiar feeling of my mama’s voice and the snaking of my nail.” This in effect, gives the reader insight into my character, I initially seem weak and timid, but grow into someone who is strong and motivated by the support of individuals who care about her.

I aimed to include many literary techniques including artistic pacing (as the number of details explaining each section are all different and the jump between events are purposeful), flashbacks (with respective time stamps throughout) with suspense as I cut the section before the show starts and go to another section, engaging dialogue (between me and my parents) that all help to characterize me as a round character who is caustic in her humor, soft for her family, and ambitious and brave when there is need for it.

Additionally, to accentuate the idea of theatre as a main focus in this piece, some of my word choice is directly linked to Shakespeare, some examples would be: “heart of gold”, “naked truth”, “method to their madness” “glaring daggers” etc. Imagery is used to bring the auditorium and the living room alive, and the inclusion of my smart comments and opinionated remarks give the experiences a more realistic feel.





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