In that moment, that moment when the curtain rises, everything but that moment is a blurry haze. All you see is the blinding lights that hide the audience from your eyes, and all you feel is that nervous beating of your heart beginning to leap into your throat, and you cannot for the life of you remember what your first line is.
But it doesn't matter. You know as soon as it's time, you will know it. All your hard work, your memorization, your concentration will pay off, and the evening will be complete and total bliss. It doesn't matter who is in the audience, or even who you are. For that moment you forget everything except who you've become. And for the evening you are in the magical land of pretend.
Then... like Cinderella at the ball, it will all vanish, and slowly, reluctantly you have to return to yourself, return to reality. But it's worth it. Even all the work beforehand, even all the depression and feelings of loss afterwards are worth that evening of bliss.
And this is why I will always return to the stage.