Eighty eight keys. Two songs. Nine minutes. One contest. Mom was sitting in the living room reading some book while I was at the piano playing the same two songs over and over again, just like when trying to memorize that trivial line you think will impress that first date. The clock ticked and the little hand was a little past the number four when Dad opened the door and I stopped playing. I had to get ready for that night, and with twelve years in this planet and a head a little more than five feet above the ground my dressing styles relied upon Mom’s magic. After a ton of gel landed on my hair and a red tie was laying tightly over my white shirt we were ready to go, and a pat from dad elevated the pressure on me.
The whole ride to the theater I was sitting in the back of the car going over “Can you Feel the Love Tonight?” and “Return to the Hearth”, caressing my sweaty hands until we finally got there. Mom kissed me and wished me luck as she always does and dad just gave me a nice and cutting comment: “don’t screw up”–really characteristic of Dad.
Mrs. Aceves was already in the backstage setting up the pianos and equipment for the other participants and I approached her to get my line up, and after preparations, we started the concert one minute after seven.
The little girl that opened the concert was a talented fifteen year old and her father had the loudest clap in the whole audience; reminding I needed to do my best if I wanted to win. I remember hearing name, after name, after name. Omar was never mentioned. I was the nineteenth competitor in a nineteen number program, “Best for last” they say, I was hoping “They” were right. So finally I hear my name coming from the speakers, and my body is containing a fabulous combustion of emotions and nerves that needed to be calmed, just like a washing machine going crazy inside its chambers.
I felt the eyes of hundreds of spectators nailing me from a distance after a round of applause welcomed me to the...