The auditorium is silent. Dark behind the spotlights. I cast a glance, hopeful to make out some friendly faces. My family is out there, and Brad too. Hopefully.
Shapes of humans. That’s all I can see. There’s someone in the front row with a high bun. I wonder if the person behind her is annoyed. That’s the kind of thing that irritates the people who frequent piano concerts.
I stare at the sheet on the stand. Focus, Mia. Focus. My hands hover above the keys. I breathe in, deeply.
My fingers dance over the keys. I lose myself in the music. I know this piece, as if it’s part of me. Nothing can throw me off, not even that andante section, where my teacher used to wrap me over the knuckles if I hadn’t slowed enough.
‘Moderately slow. Moderately slow, Mia,’ she’d say. Her teeth gritted, so it sounded like a snarl. ‘Do you know what that means?’
Thoughts of Shirl cause me to shiver. She was an old bat, but I miss her. And her death was so…
Focus, Mia. Focus.
I’m coming to the crescendo now. Amazing to think I’ve been playing for twenty minutes. Not one error. Shirl would be proud.
Oh no! I feel an itch in my right ankle. Desperate to ignore it, I think of Brad sitting in the audience watching me. He’s never seen my play like this before. I hope he’s liked it.
Nope. Still itchy, so I slide off my shoe and bring my left foot around to scratch it. I only need the right pedal for this next movement.
Inexplicably, the sheet of music falls from the stand at the exact moment I shift my foot. I lurch my left hand forward to grab it, and the next thing I’m aware of is I’m lying on stage, with faces crowding me.
There’s mum, worried, furrowed brow. Dad, arms folded over chest, huffing with concern. And Brad…he’s nowhere to be seen.