"You should be a voice actor," she said. "Seriously, do it. Promise me that you'll at least try to act." I smiled an empty smile and continued tying my shoes. "I promise." I said. "Pinky promise?" She asked. With some reluctance I hooked my pinky around hers. "Pinky promise." Then, I put on my jacket and walked out the door.
As far as goodbyes go, the whole thing was so appropriate.
In high school, I never particularly liked actors. Theater kids, I mean. Or theatre kids. It wasn't an active dislike, really. I'd never been slighted by them or wronged in any way. It was a tolerance for the most part punctuated with bouts of annoyance. Or not even that, really. I just never had any interest in being a part of it. I could never get myself to be quite so melodramatic about everything that ever happened. This was somewhat funny to me at the time because of how badly I wanted to make movies.
I wanted to be a director. I also enjoyed writing quite a bit. But I also wanted to act. Not so much because I wanted the glorious opportunity to be a star but more because I wanted to live out my childish fantasies of being a vampire hunter or spaceship captain or secret agent. And I did. And, to an extent, do. But it was never anything worth taking seriously. I was content to just watch movies and television shows and daydream about being the characters.
And then, one day, my friend said to audition for an upcoming play.
"Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog!" She exclaimed. "Seriously, you have to do this! Promise me that you'll do this!" I smiled a polite smile and continued drawing. "I promise." I said. "Okay." She said. "If you don't, I will be so mad." Then, I put on my backpack and walked out the door.
And, the next day, auditioned for Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.
It was intimidating, really. But it went well. Well enough for a callback. Well enough to be cast as Dr. Horrible. A dream come true, really. But copyright laws are a funny thing. Terrible, actually. In my life, I think, there are only two significant personal disappointments. One of them is forfeiting my chance to audition at the State Jazz competition and the other is watching Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog go up in smoke. These are things I will carry to my grave.
It came down to a choice. Stay or leave. I talked to my parents and my friends. "Just quit," they said. "You signed up to be Dr. Horrible, not some random character in some random play. You don't owe them anything now." I could see the logic behind the argument. And there was a part of me that was tempted--really--to do it. To just walk away. "See how easily they gave up?" She said. "Are those the types of people you want to be around?" It was something to think about.
"Yes." I said.
Because, I guess, it wasn't really about the play. It was the people. These new people I was forced to spend all this time with. To bond with. To have fun with. To work hard with. Friendship is a funny, fickle thing. Difficult to earn, harder to maintain. And, yet, there it was. Somewhere in the middle of all these headaches and heartaches and stressful rehearsals were these ridiculous friendships. It barely makes sense, really. I hate admitting things like that, but it's true. I somehow made a bunch of close friendships in a matter of weeks with complete strangers.
And I never had to think about it before, but it's starting to dawn on me. Our time together is coming to an end. I won't be spending all my free time with them after this weekend. And, I guess, that scares me a little. Knowing that our long nights of rehearsing and stressing together are over. Knowing that friendship is a funny, fickle thing. I don't want to lose that. And it's so easy to. So easy to make promises and plans politely and then watch them collect dust. I wish we had another couple of weeks to rehearse. Not because we need it, but because I want to spend more time with these people. Truly, it is a terrible feeling.
But I just grew up in the last four weeks. Found a new interest--passion, even. I'm going to miss these people. I'm going to miss playing pretend games with them. It's like being a kid on the playground again. I'm not the only one pretending we're in a spaceship. Or that we're secret agents. Or that we're hunting vampires.
I get to add another regret to the list, now. I wish I'd done all this sooner.