Amazing Kids! Magazine

The Magic of a Moment

By Sarina Patel, Contributing writer

 

The velvety, ruby-red curtains swished, teasingly concealing the curious crowd from the many flurries back and on stage. The glossy piano stood bulky and magnificent in the almost blinding spotlight. Yet my mind was not registering the beauty of it all but focused on the soft murmurs of the audience, who were clearly enjoying this recital more than I was. ‘”f I mess up…” I shuddered. I perished the thought and stonily stared at the stage. Ka-bump! Ka-bump! My heart pounded so loud in my chest that it could’ve replaced a percussion band! The audience ruffled their papers and shuffled in their seats. My mind calculated for an escape route. I could always say I felt sick, ran out the backstage door and the announcer forgot to omit me from the list!

Corie and Cece had finished their song and from all the clapping I heard, the people in the crowd must have had red, tingling hands! “Congratulations, Corie and Cece, on your spectacular song! Well, we’ve all had an amazing night, I’m sure-” the speaker annunciated clearly and brightly. “….Oh, look at me, chatting away while students wait nearby!” blustered Ms. Kathy – the tall, pretty announcer as she checked her watch.

Why was I acting nervous? I wasn’t normally shy. What was wrong? Then the answer struck me like a bolt of lightning might hit a skyscraper: my first taste of stage fright had come early!

“….So would y’all give it up…” My ears neglected her blaring sounds and honed in on the tranquil silence backstage for comfort. “…for…” I pleaded she wouldn’t utter my name in vain. Backstage, I looked through one of the many secret cameras in case I saw my parents stand up. From what little I could see, only shadows of totally different sizes loomed in the dark seats crammed with people who were enjoying the appealing spectacle of having children play amazing pieces. “Sarina Patel!” My ears tuned in at that point. She finished in a slight rush; her cheeks flushed pink from talking. Ms. Kathy ruffled her silky brown hair apprehensively and trotted off the stage. The curtains swayed as they were pulled from their spot. My legs did the opposite of what the jittery side of my brain did: they moved forward in an awkward, stiff, prim little way. “Come ON, Brain, where’s that handy-dandy escape route?’ I impatiently questioned. I was nearing the thick wooden beam where I would officially and unceremoniously enter the stage.

“Five steps to get there, four steps, and three steps- step it up and here we go…” I recited. I knew I couldn’t back out now – all answers had eluded me except one: to get up on that stage and nail my performance like a house builder hammering a nail into a roof shingle. “Two steps to go, breathe and smile now….one….” I counted. My breath was cut off at one. Zero. I inhaled sharply and briskly, feeling a bit surprised. My thoroughly enjoyed, stalling counting facade was over. I had stepped onto the beam. The tip of my sparkly black shoe pointed out of the backstage realm- the only tantalizing glimpse the crowd got of me.

The soft mutters and enthused chants of the crowd mingled in the tension-filled air and formed an energetic buzz. My fists were semi-curled into the air and I ambled forward. My brain wrangled my legs, so it looked like it took some chagrin to walk forward. I forced a smile, rusty as a copper wire from recent disuse, onto my face. Adrenaline coursed through my veins, spilling out into my bloodstream and tingling my fingertips with a chilly, fluttery, rapid sensation. I blinked steadily and moved towards the piano. The ivory-white keys were polished and glossy, the sleek piano structure itself a cool obsidian hue. I penetrated it with steady fingers and pulled myself up to the front of the stage to curtsy. “Eccentric,” criticized the always smug part of my mind. “Truly a crowd-pleasing act,” it intoned as the crowd failed to suppress a warm chuckle. I could see the gold-kissed strings of the marvelous grand piano. The light playfully bounced off of them. I swallowed and got myself together.

After weeks of practicing, I could feel that I was ready. I promptly sat down on the leather seat, pulled it back, and took a deep breath. I smiled once more to the humongous crowd, who by now sported an exasperated expression. I stroked the keys softly and begun. A note, D note…..I recited to myself. My fingers were agile and nimbly leaped to different notes. They played with a valuable caressing motion at the soft parts. They were strong and quick at the flighty, prickly parts of the eerie song I was playing, called Spooks. “Here comes the big part. Ready?” asked my mind, in a joint effort to rocket me to cloud nine. I nodded in my head. BOOM! The piano echoed a tremendously loud note; making a big, thundering sound that caused everyone in the audience to bristle and shiver a bit. It was glorious, just like my teacher had told me the moment would be. I savored it like sucking on the sweetest, tastiest, loveliest blue raspberry Dum Dum lollipop. After I finished my piece, the audience started clapping with deafening volume. Though my ears squealed, I curtsied and pranced offstage, gloating so much my cheeks were shiny.

“As we all know very well, the people on stage have performed feats that adults and some kids alike wouldn’t dare to dream of,” fabricated Ms. Kathy like extending the end of a long skirt hem very far. “But this is the Prodigy Performing competition, and only three people will get the medal of their rank! Without further ado…” My heart thumped loudly. I swallowed and cast a longing stare towards the piano. It had truly been doused with performance magic. Even if I wasn’t chosen for the top ranks, I could still say I had a great time. After hours of practicing, working, and succeeding, I had done fabulous in my heart. And as much as I longed to taste ultimate victory, that was really all that mattered. Even if the bronze medal – my last hope at getting an award – sadly wasn’t within my reach.

“Corie and Cece, come up here to get the bronze!” My heart slumped. Surely I wasn’t getting second or first place….and did I do that bad? I did well, but not amazingly good. “In second place….Susie DeRive!” Boomed Ms. Kathy. A petite, thin girl with chocolate skin, fudge eyes, and oily raven hair clambered up the stairs from the audience to receive her silver medal. “In first place, the rank we’ve all been holding our breath for…. Sarina Patel!” I screamed inside my mind, smiling hugely until my cheek muscles seemed to squeal under all the recent grinning. The adrenaline melted and mellowed, subsiding to nothing inside my bloodstream. Oh my gosh! I thanked my fingers – and my lucky stars – and ambled up to the stage, confronting the crowd with happy eyes as I fingered the shiny gold medal, shaped like a circle and reflecting the light that bounced onto the stage and anything nearby.

I wriggled my way through a row of smiling faces and confronted my mother with a triumphant smile. “Well DONE, my love!” Mom burst out and kissed me. She crushed me in a long, smothering hug- and I wasn’t surprised by the intensity or the speed of it. Her hugs were famed to be huge and long! It was a nice break for my weary fingers, which had lumbered through the day like a soon-to-be-hibernating bear. She handed me a bouquet of flowers in vibrant colors. Electric lime green, bright peony pink, deep ocean blue, jazzy lipstick red, quirky hydrangea purple, and luminous highlighter yellow hues all burst forth from the flowers I expected to be void of any bright colors. “Talk about SWEET victory,” I joked after sniffing its’ fragrance. Mom grinned. “Kids and flowers aren’t an exact duo…..but kids and chocolate are!” She countered with an air of humor, whipping out a luscious piece of Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark dark chocolate. “I got these because the holidays are right around the corner,” she explained, as I tasted the luxuriously smooth chocolate paired with wintry, fresh, scrumptious peppermint bark goodness. Mmmm- my favorite! She bit into her own. I smiled, indulgently mumbling, “Cheers!”

Soon after, I bounded all the way to the car, my heart swelling as I penetrated the gold medal with my proud fingers. My eyes had fluorescent blue streaks that were practically engraved into them from all the bright flashes. Mom LOVES to take photos of me! As my eyes blinked, they wiggled around and jostled about. I didn’t care, though. My medal gleamed in the dazzling sunlight. The birds were chirping, and a wide beam was plastered on my face as I gaily skipped to the car. What an exciting day I’ve had- from being nervous to winning the Prodigy Performing competition! Now that was a magical moment I’ll prize forever!

The End