“The Prince and the Princess were finally united and got married. And then they lived happily ever after… The End”, Ana finished reading the story with a smile on her face. Ana was in college, yet she loved reading fairy tales. Everyone teased her for this habit of hers but Ana never bothered. Her only dream was to be the Princess some day.
She was looking forward to the next day– where she would get another chance to showcase her talent in acting. Ana was one of the most talented girls in her college. She loved acting. But things were difficult for her because of Sarah Jones. Sarah was the most talented girl in college when it came to plays. She was one of those persons who were born talented. Ana and Sarah did not interact much even though they were in the same class. The reason Ana hated Sarah, in spite of her being talented, was that Sarah was also good in studies and was every teacher’s favorite student.
Every year, the college would organize different talent shows and this time, they were organizing a play. But the theme for the play had not yet been disclosed. Ana was so excited that she just could not sleep. She lay down on her bed and began thinking about the fairy tale she had just read. ‘I wish I were a Princess for real…’ she thought in her mind and fell asleep soon after.
The alarm rang and Ana got up startled. She sleepily turned the alarm off and suddenly remembered the auditions. She arose from her bed in excitement and dressed up quickly. She bade her mom goodbye and left for college.
Ana was too charged up to concentrate on anything other than the play. As the minutes ticked by, she glanced at her watch every now and then, looking forward for the audition to begin. But the thought of Sarah kept worrying her about whether she would get to play the lead role. She wanted this so badly that she was determined not to give up no matter what.
Soon the lectures were over and the students interested in auditioning for the play were asked to wait in the classroom. Ana looked around to see which of her classmates were participating in the auditions. After all, she had to give her best shot in order to bag the lead role. She saw Sarah seated, laughing and talking with one of her friends. Ana looked in front and saw the Dean, Mr. Patrick, along with a young man in the class. There was complete silence in the classroom. Ana had never seen that young man before in her college and guessed that he might be the one selecting the cast for the play. ‘Fair enough’, she thought, 'at least that would equal my chances against Sarah'.
“Good Morning, boys and girls,” Mr. Patrick began addressing the students. “I am glad to see so many students waiting to participate in the auditions. But before we begin, let me introduce to you Mr. Drew, the director of Drew’s Acting Academy. He will be the special judge for the auditions. It’s my pleasure to judge the auditions along with Mr. Drew and our very own Ms. Martha, your English Professor. And let me reveal to you what you all will be auditioning for.” All the students seemed eager to hear what the play was all about. Mr. Patrick continued, “We are planning to create a fairy tale here in our very own West High University. Therefore, we are also looking forward to find a young Prince and Princess which will be the lead roles. And of course, I also need a witch”, he winked. Mr Patrick wished all the students good luck and then they all proceeded to the activity hall on the ground floor.
Ana was really excited after she heard the lead role was that of a Princess. The judges were ready and so were the students. All the students were made to sit outside and they were given badges. The students were allowed one by one inside the room to showcase their acting prowess on stage.
At last, it was Ana’s turn. She was nervous as well as excited. She went in and saw the judges seated at the other end of the big hall. Mr Drew was looking forward to see Ana’s performance as he had already been informed by Mr Patrick about Ana’s talent. Ms Martha smiled at Ana and she gave her a sheet of paper detailing the lines she was supposed to say for her audition.
Ana took the sheet and looked at the lines. She read them once in her mind and then got ready to enact. The dialogues were for a sad situation. Ana closed her eyes and thought about her deceased father whom she missed a lot and loved dearly. She opened her eyes and they were filled with tears. She then said the dialogues, “Oh, please don’t hurt my father, I will do as you say. But please do not kill my father.” She then paused as per the narration and then shouted, “Father, please don’t die”, she said and cried bitterly.
All the three judges were impressed and Mr Drew stood up and clapped loudly. Ana looked at him and smiled, the tears still rolling down her eyes. “Good, Ana, I’m very glad to tell you that we will look forward to see you act in the play. However, we haven’t yet finalized the role for you as there are still more students to audition. “
Ana could not believe her ears. She was so happy with her performance and the fact that she had been selected for the play. She went out of the room and ran happily. She saw Sarah standing in the queue along with others who were yet to audition. But now she was not angry or disappointed as she was already selected. She was confident that with her performance, she would surely bag the lead role of the Princess.
The next day Ana woke up and was very anxious to know what role she would be chosen for. ‘Of course, Princess Ana’, she thought and smiled to herself.
Ana reached her college early that day, pretty excited. While going to her classroom, she overheard some of the girls talking about Sarah's performance. “Oh, you should have watched her act; I heard she was so good that she made Ms. Martha cry ”, one of the girls said. “Aww, definitely she will be the Princess”, said another girl. “Yes, she will be the one, but I wonder who will be the witch”, said another girl and then they all laughed. Ana ignored their conversation and thought to herself, ‘Of course I will be the Princess and Sarah will be the witch, - she deserves it’.
Just like on the previous day, after the lectures were over, the students did not leave their class. This time everyone wanted to hear the results of the auditions. The Dean arrived and happily announced,” Hello students, I am very happy with the quality of performers we have in our college. We had a very good round of auditions yesterday. But I would like to mention the two most outstanding performances that totally raised the bar to another level. Ms Ana Stevenson and Ms Sarah Jones, please come in front.”
There was a loud applause from the students as both the girls came forward. Ana was nervous and happy about her name being announced but her biggest competitor Sarah was also with her.
Mr Patrick continued, “While I cannot give you both the roles of the Princess, I am surely going to give one of you a very challenging role. And so the Princess will be Ms Sarah Jones.” Sarah and her friends were jumping with joy and all the students clapped for her. But now everyone was eagerly waiting what role would Ana be given.
Mr Patrick looked at Ana and said, “Ana, I loved your performance too, so I would be giving you the role of the witch”. There was complete silence in the room. No claps. No laughing and jumping. Just some scattered giggles. Ana could not believe her ears. Was she so bad that she had been given this role? Was this her reward for good acting? This was the worst punishment she could get. And she could imagine every boy and girl in college giving her new nicknames and teasing her.
Ana went back to her seat and sobbed. She could now hear a little murmuring in the class but she chose to ignore. Ana could not stop crying. Soon the students left the classroom and Ana too left for home. She was feeling very embarrassed and did not raise her head while walking. One of the guys remarked, “Better be good to her or else she will cast a spell on you,” and everybody laughed. Ana could not control her tears and ran home.
The next day the rehearsals for the play started. Ana was still sad with her role and she did not speak to anyone. Sarah came near Ana and spoke for the first time to her. “Hey Ana, you don’t have to be disappointed. I think you will nail it.” Ana looked at her and said, “I don’t need your pity. I know you must be pretty happy that I got this role to play. And please leave me alone.” Sarah did not say anything and went away.
A few days later, Ms Martha, who was conducting the practice called Ana in her room. “Have a seat, Ana. What’s wrong with you, dear? The play is next week and you are not giving your all. You will have to perform your best or else I am afraid you will be out of the play”, Ms Martha said sternly.
Ana did not say anything. She got up and went to the practice hall. Sarah saw her and sat with her. She said, “Ana, you are a fabulous performer and that’s why they have given this role to you. Even I won’t be able to do justice to it. This is your chance to prove to every person out there who’s mocking you that you are the greatest actor in our college. Come on, Ana, trust me. It will be fun.”
Ana could not believe it was Sarah who was motivating her. She had been so wrong about her. She cried and hugged Sarah. “I will give my best, Sarah, thanks”, Ana said. From that day onwards, everybody was really happy with Ana’s performance and everything went well. And of course, Ana found a great new friend in Sarah.
The day of the play arrived. There was hustle and bustle everywhere. The actors were now getting ready with their costumes and makeup. As the witch's makeup would take a long time, Ana had to sit early in the green room. Ana kept looking for Sarah, but her friend was nowhere to be seen. Ana wondered if she was already ready and rehearsing the play. Even after Ana had been transformed by costume and makeup into a scary witch, she still could not find Sarah.
Ana asked around if anyone had seen Sarah. But nobody knew where she was. Ms Martha was frantic. “Where is Sarah? Somebody call her up. I hope she won’t ruin the play”, she said.
Someone backstage informed Ms Martha that Sarah had met with a major accident while she was on the way to the drama hall. Ms. Martha panicked and wondered what to do. Meanwhile, Ana also heard about the incident and she was very sad. She wanted to see Sarah but she could not leave the play. Just then, Ms. Martha came to Ana and told her to change her costume. Ana was the new Princess.They would ask Ana's understudy to be the new witch. Ana’s dream of playing the Princess had finally come true. But she was not happy at all – not when Sarah was fighting for her life.
However, the show must go on and so Ana hurriedly dressed up as the Princess. Soon the play began and all went well on the stage. The minute the play was over to a thunderous applause, Ana rushed to the hospital to see Sarah. Sarah was in a critical condition and the doctors said her chances of surviving were bleak. Ana went to Sarah’s room. She saw Sarah unconscious on the bed, with bandages and tubes on her body. Ana was tearful and she went and sat beside Sarah. Ana said, “Oh Sarah, please get well soon and don’t leave me. All this while, I felt so wrong about you, but you are so selfless. And I am so selfish. All I thought was about me. Sarah, today you made me the Princess but I know there cannot be a better Princess than you. You are the real Princess”. And could say no more and cried.
Just then Sarah’s heart beat slowed down and the monitor started beeping. The doctor and nurses entered the room hurriedly. The doctor checked Sarah’s pulse and he was worried. He instructed the nurses to start emergency procedures. Meanwhile, Ana had to come out of the room to allow the doctors to focus on saving Sarah. Ana prayed with all her heart for Sarah. Just then, the doctor came out of the room and told Sarah’s parents that they could not save her. Ana was shocked. She just sat there on the bench.
The next day Sarah was about to be laid to rest. Ana attended Sarah’s funeral along with scores of her classmates and other well-wishers, all wanting to pay their last respects to the ever-smiling and popular Sarah who had been so cruelly snatched away. When Ana's turn came to bid Sarah goodbye, she took the tiara she had brought along with her and placed it on Sarah’s mane and said "The Real Princess".