I heard my heart pound in my ears. The crowd beyond the dusty curtains chattered and I wondered what they’d think if I walked onto the stage and drop dead. Someone thrusted a microphone in my hand and I felt the cold metal, feeling for a brief moment as if I’d held ice. My heart wouldn’t settle down and I swore everyone could hear it beating because I’d held the microphone up to my chest.
Someone behind me whispered, “Good luck,” and my brain couldn’t connect the face to the light and airy voice. I was suddenly in front of the whole school and everyone was looking at me expectantly. Were they waiting for me to croak like a frog so they could laugh? Some of the kids there were really mean.
Suddenly, notes of a piano started and I knew that I had to begin soon. I had to start eight seconds in. Seven I swallowed. Six I blinked. Five through two was a blur. One second; I took a deep breath, opened my mouth, lifted the microphone, and sung, “I can show you the world. Shining shimmering splendid…”
I loved the song so much that I forgot all about my beating heart and concentrated on the words. I sang both Aladdin and Princess Jasmine’s part of “A Whole New World” the way I did in my room in front of the mirror. I knew, I held the notes on key and smiled when I nailed those high parts. The echo of my voice encouraged me to sing even louder and I didn’t care about the kids laughing or the dusty curtain or the voice whispering behind me. In that moment, I was glitter; I was a star.
When it was over, I heard hands hitting each other. Everyone was clapping for me! I saw encouraging smiles from the teachers, and I smiled in return; or really, relief. It was over, but I wanted to do it again. For that moment however, it was over, so I turned and walked to the side of the stage. One of the teachers in charge of the talent show patted my shoulder and told me how great I was, and how did I learn to sing that way. I said I just sung the way I always did in my room. She laughed, took the microphone from my hand, and went onstage to introduce the next act.
When the show was over, and everyone had their turn, I walked to my locker to grab my jacket and on the way, I got compliments from almost everyone. The principal even came up to me and said, “Suzette, that was really brave. Great job!”. It was in that moment I knew I could take chances and be myself. So what if I sang a duet solo? So what if I had completely forgotten the show was that day. I’ll never forget because after that experience, it really was a whole new world.
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