Ben had always been the creative one in the family. He was the one who could play almost any instrument he picked up. He was the one who started acting in the local plays. He was the one who wrote a novel within two and a half months that brought my stone-faced father to tears. Ben was the one who shone above everyone else, and the one my parents introduced to their friends first. My sister and I were only mannequins in the background; there to prove our existence.
As much as we tried to get attention, Ben was the star - and there was nothing we could do to change that, from what we knew at the time. We recognized that, too. Ben deserved this attention! After all, he was amazing at almost everything he did.
At our school, Ben was the one that the teachers adored, yet so did all the students for his many talents. I couldn't help but try to follow in his footsteps. After all, I was the younger brother, and the middle child. I had no clue what my place in the world was, or what I was supposed to be doing. So I'd auditioned for the school play with Ben. Maybe I could get a role that gave me some attention, for a change. Maybe Ben could be the shadow for once.
I stood up on the stage of the auditorium, stuttering out a few lines from a Midsummer's Night Dream - I can't even remember who I was attempting to portray - and making Shakespeare sound like a lunatic in an insane asylum. Mrs. Coller had watched me with sympathy and the slightest impatience as I tried to finish the scene with agony. And then I finished. I breathed a sigh of relief, and began to walk off the stage, when Mrs. Coller called after me.
"Noah. I'm sure that was very good - but I could not hear a word you said... you're very quiet, dear." My middle-aged History teacher said. "Could you try using the microphone, and going again?"
My face turned a crimson red as I stumbled back onto the stage, tripping over the microphone cord as I came to stand before Mrs. Coller once again.
I nervously spoke my lines, stuttering more than I had the first time, I was sure. After many chokes, un-intentional pauses and mixed-up sentences, the scene concluded, and I closed my eyes; completely mortified.
A few seconds of silence passed, then I opened my eyes to see Mrs. Coller gazing at me with an expression that could only be read as amused. Great. I'd made my teacher laugh during a depressing scene in a play by William Shakespeare, himself. Kill me, kill me now.
I lowered my head, and walked off the stage, right into my brother, who had a calm expression on his face. "You did a good job!" Ben said, as if he'd read my mind. I shook my head and began to saunter out of the auditorium, when once again, Mrs. Coller shouted after me.
"I'll get back to you, Noah! Good job, dear!"
I shook my head in disgust with myself for even trying, and pushed the auditorium doors open with little effort.
"Let's get home for supper, shall we, Noah? Tell mom and dad about the audition?"
Of course, Ben looked forward to sharing news of the audition - because it was evident that he would get a leading role. I couldn't say the least - I would be assigned to backstage, if to anything.
"Sure, Ben. Let's go tell mom and dad that you got in another play."
Ben stared at me in confusion. "What? Noah. I didn't get in. Nobody has. We don't find out who's in the play until next Monday."
"Ben, you got in. Don't worry." I responded in monotone, then walked ahead of my older, better brother - something I almost never got to do.