I walked up the church steps, butterflies already fluttering around in my stomach. A few kids admired my guitar case, which was covered in stickers.
“Thanks,” I said, “but it’s actually not mine...it’s my teacher’s one.”
They nodded, and went back to their game of chase-around-the seats-without-tripping-over-them game. I turned my attention to the programme of the day which I snatched from a nearby table. I gasped when I saw my name; my song was fourth on the sheet.
I saw my friends, who came up from behind and hugged me.
“Look!” I cried, pointing at my name on the programme. “My item is basically first! I’m so nervous!”
Chloe grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. “Don’t—be—nervous—Maddi, you—can—do—this!” She let me go and stepped back, smiling.
I did my sound check, which calmed my nerves a bit. But by the time the concert started, my teeth were chattering, my legs were shaking, and I had goosebumps up my arms. I walked to the back of the church to my dad, who was chatting with a friend.
“Dad, I’m so nervous.”
“About what, our skit?”
“NO! My song.”
Our friend spoke, who we won’t name, because privacy is good, you know. Anyway. “Just ask God to take your nervousness away.”
I took a deep breath. “Alright.” I looked up at the ceiling. “God, please take my butterflies away so I can perform.”
I looked back at the men. “Better?” They asked. “Better,” I said, walking back to my seat.
As the formalities were spoken, and as it grew nearer and nearer to my turn, my legs started shaking again.
Finally, my name was called. I dragged myself off my seat and stepped up to the stage.
God, please help me...to do my best.
I took my guitar off the stand, sat in front of the mic and put my capo on. Somebody helped me adjust the microphone and the host introduced me and the song I was singing.
Then there was a silence. The silence of people waiting, judging, anticipating, smiling. I breathed deeply and broke it by strumming the chords.
1 bar, 2 bars, 3 bars, 4 bars....it’s now or never. I opened my lips, and
sound came out.
“Watch me fall, said the girl with the broken heart.”
It worked, and I was ecstatic.
Thankyou God! It didn’t come out warped!
I kept singing the verse, and it was perfect. I realised my legs were shaking horribly, and I had to force them down on the ground.
“...but he took a while to sober up,”
“Time and time again we see, the hurting people run
Throwing up their hands in emptiness, they come undone.”
Tears drew to my eyes when I saw different people affected by my words. It was the first time I realised what a sad song it was. I struggled to keep my eyes dry, and my voice stable, and I made it to the bridge.
“...Sometimes we don’t last long, but there is a love that’s here to stay.”
Slow down for second chorus, Maddi.
I managed my hammer-ons and slowed my voice down.
“Faith will keep the broken man, believing,
Hope will come to heal the heart that’s grieving,
Where it comes from is where I one day will go,
And that’s the most comforting thing I know.”
I repeated the chorus again, with more emphasis. I played a D# over something else, but it didn’t matter. I finished the song and everyone applauded, and I tried to keep from emotional breakdown. As I left the stage, I felt amazing...I didn’t want to leave! I felt like performing more songs and the feeling of accomplishment was great. And I will perform, again and again. I can’t wait for the future!