I feel safe. I feel home. I feel right and accepted whenever my mind wanders back to that room. I feel magical, and I feel knowledgeable. I was a regular.
From January of my freshman year in high school through May of my senior year, I spent my afternoons in a wondrous place, where I left myself at the door. With possibility as my escort and faith as my companion, I dared to live a dream, which only I had the power to pursue. Just arriving at the door, I gained the incentive, the adrenaline rush. I wanted to be her. As I neared the front, swashbuckling through onlookers, I felt a certain privilege overcome me. I felt as though the world was watching and I had the future mapped out in my mind. Her fate had been memorized.
Behind the dark curtain, my family awaited me. Soon, we would all take on our alternate personalities to entertain the onlookers and to tell their stories. We had spent endless hours preparing for the next three days—not even three days: seventy-two hours—six of which would be crucial. But it didn’t matter. In just seventy-two brief hours, their lives would end and ours begin again, but it didn’t matter. The thrill and excitement would last a lifetime.
I never imagined I would find my safe haven in a place where I was forced to bare all; unveiling myself to dozens of strangers. I found comfort in the fact that I was not the one being exposed; however, it was my resolution to portray her as well as she may have done if given the opportunity to, herself. My mind, my own enemy, I cleared every thought which did not pertain to that exact instant, and allowed my imagination to run rampant, abandoning my fears and myself, taking on a foreign persona.
This seventy-two hour interval would occur three times a year for four years. I could never imagine what the last minute, of the last hour, of the last day, of the last year would bring with it. The time when the roles would be reversed and her life would go on, without me, leaving myself as my only companion. But, eventually, the day did come, and somehow I left her, alone behind the dark curtains with my family, hoping that someday we would be reintroduced for another six hours.