Then comes the next day-- the one that I have been preparing for months in advance. I eat a breakfast despite the fact I am not hungry. I get ready for the day. While curlers are in my hair, I iron the brown skirt I am going to wear. I practice my pieces one last time before my sisters, Mom, and I head out the door.
In the car my heart seems to be pumping faster than usual. Other than that, I am pretty calm. I am happy that I am a lot more relaxed than other times.
This is all before we get to the hotel. Once there, my feet begin to slide in my shoes. While in the bathroom I try to wipe them off. I use my newly ironed skirt. It helps, and I make my way to the sign-in table where my official name tag is missing, forcing me to use a temporary one. We then go up the elevator to room #13. I hand my two pieces of music over to the official girl outside the competition room, while hearing one of my pieces being played on the other side of the door. The door opens and I am escorted into the hotel-turned-music room.
I see the piano. I hear a cheerful voice saying that I can warm up. I begin to play a scale. My fingers play automatically, but my mind is in another zone. After a minute has slowly passed, the same, cheerful voice tells me that I may begin.
I start. First I play the piece that I heard while waiting my turn, Camel Caravan. Then, I go into another piece, The Matador. After a couple of stumbles on the foreign piano, with the pedals not even an inch above the hotel carpet, I have finished. The cheerful voice from earlier talks one more time. The owner of this voice is a judge. She tells me that I may leave the room. I go out into the hallway, relieved that it is over. A minute later the official girl returns my music.
We get into our car. Even though I've done a better job other times, I feel good with what I did. I even think I would like to do it again, now that I've had some practice. It helps knowing that all the practice I put into it will pay off regardless of the score I receive.