“You Will Find That Sunset Days Make You Who You Are”

these sunset days are yours.
you’ll trip and fall, sure, but at the end you’ll finally stand steady.
these sunset days teach you what happiness is.
they teach you about family, about home,
and most importantly to someone who once stood unsure,
they teach you who you are.
these sunset days are yours.

you sing off key broadway songs at seven am on packed school buses,
and you drink so much coffee you think you might explode.
you talk too fast and stress too much, but the stress is bearable
because there are 20 other people on that bus,
and you shared iced teas, bagels, and teddy grahams.
they have hair straighteners and clipboards and gossip,
and laughs that fill you with incredible happiness.
and their stress sits there, right alongside yours.
you argue about which songs to play,
screaming across the bus just to be heard.
you recite the whole play exactly at the same time,
to the confusion of the bus driver listening in.
you are together from before sunrise to after sunset,
but there is nowhere else you would rather be.
if the day stills glows after all that,
you know they must be family.

you watch the same scene a hundred times
while you laugh with each other backstage,
even when you really shouldn’t be talking.
you misplace your script so many times that you’re constantly reaching for the ones around you,
and you climb onto set pieces and under tables in an attempt to be stealthy.
you carry random pieces of furniture through high schools,
and accidentally bruise yourself more times than you can count.
when you are among broken pieces of furniture and painted pieces of cardboard,
and paper mache trees and costumes strewn about on scraped staged,
you know you are home.

once someone told you, “this is what you’re made for, kid.”
you took these words to heart,
because you are made for this and made of this, all at once.
you are made of black socks and splinters,
of the writing on the wall that commemorates everyone before you,
you are made of jetting across the stage with props,
and taking your shoes off the minute you enter the auditorium.
you are also made of extra large meatball subs from Angelina’s,
and high fives given in the middle of a show.
you are made of colored tape covering the stage,
of jumbled, tangled, sound wires,
and wearing your paint clothes every day for a month.
you have never felt more you than when you are running around backstage,
scribbling notes along margins of scripts,
or spending hours upon hours at rehearsal.
you are you when the lights are dimmed
and the curtains are open three fourths of the way.
when you stand there and know the puzzle pieces have all been found,
when you feel complete in these moments,
that’s when you realize it is not what you do but who you are.

you cry happy tears after great performances,
and every time you think about those moments, you cry again.
you make sappy speeches on bus rides home after long days,
and sob as everyone else makes their own sappy speeches, because you’re a sappy bunch.
as the bus drives on and the night gets late,
you feel as if you could live in this moment forever.

you know one day it will be time to turn off the lights for the last time,
you’ll no longer be waiting for the next script or the next dunks run,
but this people will always be your family, this place will always be your home,
and this will always be who you are.

these sunset days are yours, but these days make you you.

By Ava Berarducci

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