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Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Play to Remember

by Diane Craver

From my seat in the auditorium, I saw how much work needed to be done on the set before dress rehearsal in two weeks. Why did I agree to direct a play this year? I mean, really, I have enough to do with teaching my first year in high school. I thought junior high students were rough last year, but dealing with seniors is a different kind of challenge. The ones in my English classes seem to all have senioritis and don’t want to do their schoolwork. But yet they find time to try to hook me up with Mr. Colin Mathews, the assistant principal. It’s not that I don’t appreciate their efforts, but I don’t want to look desperate. He has to be aware of their matchmaking efforts because Julie, a student of mine, gave him movie passes for us. When we went to the theatre, Julie gave us a big grin and said, “You two make a cute couple.”

No more spoken lines were coming from the stage and with a glance at my playbook, I saw why. The actors were waiting for Tyler to enter and speak his lines. “Tyler, you need to make your entrance,” I yelled.

From the center of the stage, petite Julie looked up at me. “Hey, Miss Bennett, are you daydreaming about Mr. Mathews?”

I shook my head and my auburn hair swung forward. “Of course not. And I’m not the one missing my cue.”

Tyler stuck his head out from behind the curtain. “Miss Bennett, I’m waiting for the doorbell.”

I cleared my throat and in a loud voice said, “Ding dong.” While Tyler made his entrance, I heard a small chuckle and turned to see Colin staring at me.

“Now there’s nothing wrong with you doing a doorbell sound,” Colin said, “but I can tape the sound effects for your play.”

“Thanks but you don’t need to do that. I just haven’t had time to record the sounds.” I didn’t want him to think I was incompetent.

“Actually you’ll be doing me a favor. At my last school, I enjoyed doing the sound effects on their play.”

I grinned. “In that case, you’re hired to be the sound effect technician.”

“If you have time this evening, we can get something to eat after practice and go over what’s needed for the play.”

A couple of hours later, Colin and I were at a Mexican restaurant. With an enchilada in my hand, I said, “This is great that you love Mexican food, too.”

“I like to eat period.” Colin slid his fork under the rice on his plate. “But not alone.”

I took a sip of water. “With you taking over the sound effects, I can focus on costumes and get on the two boys who are supposed to have the set done this week.”

Colin raised his eyebrows. “Actually that was why I was at your practice. I meant to talk to you about the set, but then I heard your unique doorbell.”

“That was thoughtful of you.”

He shrugged. “I can’t take all the credit. The students asked me to help with building the set.”

Now I was crushed. I’d hoped his offer was an excuse so he could spend time with me. But once again, the students had intervened on my behalf to throw us together. All Colin wanted was to help a teacher in need. I didn’t want him to see the disappointment I was sure had to be in my eyes, so I stopped looking at him. It wasn’t easy since I’ve always had a weakness for guys with dimples.

After we finished eating, I suggested going to my apartment since it was the closest. Sitting on my sofa, I used a yellow highlighter to mark every spot in a playbook where sound effects were needed.

He noticed the charm bracelet on my wrist, and reached for my hand. “Amy, this is loaded.”

I stopped breathing when his warm fingers touched my hand. I managed a little nod. “Friends and relatives enjoy buying me charms.” After I told him what each one represented, I stood. “I’ll get some cookies for us that were left over from the Student Council bake sale.”

He grinned. “So I get what didn’t sell.”

“Hey, I baked them. They’re all good.”

He loved the cookies so I promised to bake chocolate chip cookies for him after the play was done. Colin told me that he would do the recording over the weekend. With the play set in 1920, I took the girls on Saturday to a costume shop to try on flapper dresses. When I got home, I checked my answering machine to see if Colin had called. I sighed when I saw no messages. He didn’t drop the taped effects off like I had hoped, but instead came to practice on Monday and gave it to me. He couldn’t stay because of a parent conference.

I wanted to invite Colin over for dinner before play night, but with picking up costumes, replacing a few missing props, and inviting the elementary grades to watch the play, I couldn’t fit a romantic dinner in my schedule with Colin.

The day of the dress rehearsal, I went looking for Colin and found him in a corridor checking a student’s hall pass. I was relieved that he looked happy to see me. “Why don’t you come to dress rehearsal tonight?” I asked.

He pushed a lock of dark blond hair off his forehead. “I can’t but I’ll be at the play tomorrow night.”

It was the big night and the audience laughed at the right spots. I wore a flattering long black skirt and top reproduced in a vintage style with a boat neckline and copper beading. After the actors took their bows, Julie said, “Miss Bennett, come here.”

She handed me red roses and a small box. I flipped it open and saw a director’s chair charm.

Julie whispered, “Mr. Mathews got it for us.”

After the curtain came down, Colin joined me. “Now that the play is over, I want to spend some time with the director.”

“I’d like that.”

About the Author: Diane enjoys her life with her husband and six children in southwestern Ohio. Her husband of thirty-three years is very supportive, as well as her awesome children. Her three books, NO GREATER LOSS, A FIERY SECRET, and NEVER THE SAME are published by Samhain Publishing. Learn more about Diane Craver and her books at www.dianecraver.com or read her blog at www.dianecraver.com/blog .

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