I could hear them chanting my name just beyond the curtain.
"Xena, Xena, Xena!" came their voices floating in.
I can't do this, was all i could think, What am i doing? What if the strap of my blouse burst or if I dropped the microphone? I tightened my grip on the microphone and took a few deep breaths as my mother, the coordinator of this concert, had instructed.
"This is my moment," i said trying to persuade myself, "I can sing and my brother has taught me all his best dance moves."
I tried to remember all the strategies of stage fright control i had been taught at performance camp. Strategy one: Imagine the audience in their underwear...no thanks, my mom looks better dressed. Strategy two: look at at the wall behind the audience - but a lot of them are leaning on the wall...now what? Strategy three: pick one person in the audience and sing to them. Well, that's good but who should i sing to? Before i had a chance to even think anything more -
"And here she is ladies and gentlemen, the singing wonder, the song spectacular, she's out of this galaxy...it's XENA!" my brother announced energetically.
I held my breath as my little sister drew the curtain. I stepped out and looked out into the now silent audience. Their stares pierced every part of my body until i felt like swiss cheese.
My brother started playing the guitar introduction then my little sister came in on the piano and finally my friend Tony started playing the drums. i had practiced for months with all of them and we had perfected every note, chord and word.
I was supposed to take a step forward but my knees turned to jelly.
Focus on Xenon I thought to myself.
I focused on Xenon, my best friend, but when i opened my mouth to sing a tiny burp came out. I quickly covered my mouth as the nausea kicked in.
Xenon started chanting my name again and Xavier, my cousin, led all the boys in a barking fit which gave me confidence and when i smiled the nervousness melted away.
"Oooooh ooh ooh," i sang surprising my audience and even myself at how beautiful i sounded, "Friends forever that's what we are. Nothing can come between us not a plane or shiny car, we share everything 'til i don't even know what i own."
I loosened up enough to actually execute my dance moves flawlessly and point at my audience, smile and then wink.
Xenon laughed then stood up and clapped to the beat. Like all the girls at my slumber party, she was wearing her pyjamas. i gripped the hairbrush more tightly and started interacting with my audience like a professional singer. i looked over at my band consisting of my brother with the guitar he begged for when he was fifteen (which my parents got for half the price by buying it secondhand), my sister with her miniature keyboard (which is about a foot or two long) and Tony who used his drum sticks to knock beats on the door, some of my brother's University books and a few pots generously provided by my mother.
That slumber party was planned by my mother to get me some 'performing experience' since I love singing and i am good at it even though I was normally too nervous to sing infront of anyone excluding my family members.
After my perfect performance, in spite of 'the burping incident', the boys would have to leave because my parents would not allow them to stay for the remainder of the slumber party.
"Great, Xena, absolutely great!" Tony commented as he left.
"If you don't sing at the Talent Showcase at school I'll literally push you off a bridge." Xavier warned playfully as he exited my living room.
That was a great slumber party and now, even when I'm a famous singer i get nervous. Xenon comes to all of my shows and tours with my band and I. Now, whenever I get nervous on stage I can hear her backstage; chanting my name...
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