The crowd is in the venue, waiting.
I sit in the car. The sequins on my jacket crunch against the seat. I stare at my phone and open the keyboard app. It’s time for me to warm up my voice.
My nerves are jangled, threatening the calm I am fighting to master. I breathe.
I take a deep breath and trill my lips, ascending and descending a major scale.
I close the car door behind me and cross the dark parking lot.
The door of the venue opens, customers glide by laughing. I flash a quick smile and push past them into the venue. My heart is hammering in my chest. My palms have started to sweat.
I cross the floor to the stage and join the rest of the band. We plug in our instruments and start sound check. I study the set list.
Don’t think too much about the audience.
Don’t get distracted.
Focus on the song.
Focus on the moment.
Focus on the performance.
I hit the first chord. My nerves melt, as the stage lights wash my face.
I am in the moment, and I am alive.