Anxiety

This was a short story I wrote for English last year. We were discussing time manipulation at the time and had to create a story that utilized vocabulary to create a long scene of no more than 10 minutes.
This story is based on a true experience of mine.

Note: Our official name is: The Royale Scarlett Brigade Marching Band and Color Guard
[you can probably understand why we often shorten it to CHS Marching Band]

Chapter 1

Anxiety

It was October 12th, 2013. After months of practice, we were finally here: the marching band Gilroy Show. Even though I had started competing with the Royale Scarlett Brigade the year before, a chill always ran down my spine in the minutes we waited, our backs turned, for the team before us to finish. I took a deep breath and repositioned my grip on my clarinet, making sure not to drop it in my anxiety. I glanced at the barrel, which was pulled slightly off to produce a somewhat flatter tone; the cork grease shone from the sun's glare. I shook my head and tried to focus a little, and Arvinder looked at me concerned, as if asking 'Are you ready?' I managed a small smile and nodded imperceptibly.

Before she could say anything, we were inturrupted by the audience's applause behind us. The others around us sighed and stood as still as they could, readjusting their posture and moving their heels together. We all turned as the band before us marched off of the field, some glancing at us, others looking straight ahead. Tess looked only at the judges, ignoring the chuckles of a few of the younger members, and led us onto the field as the box announced our band over the intercom. As Tess moved briskly to the podium, we formed a small half circle and played through our F major scale, fixing our intonation one last time. Andrew cut us off and gave us a final 'good luck' before making his way to the stands. I took a look at all of the people in the stadium as I made my way to our opening set and nodded to myself in encouragement. I could do this; after all, I had so many times before.

"Ceres High School, you may take the field in competition," the judge announced, followed by a loud applause of the audience. A small smirk found its way to my lips, but I quickly shook it off and gave a look of pure concentration, waiting for Tess to call.

"..Band attend hut!" I heard behind us, and all of our members froze in attention, completely focused. "Band horns up!" The percussion echoed as our instruments snapped up. I listened to Tess counting us off intently, memorizing the tempo, and we began to play. The first chord seemed so perfect, and everyone in front of me seemed to move in perfect unison as Amber began her solo. My fingers moved easily to hit each note, and my clarinet seemed to sound better than it ever had before.

It wasn't until 3 minutes in; the ballad's beauty was inturrupted by a wrong note behind me. It shocked me and my feet fumbled, putting me out of step for a moment. Tess' face scrunched in confusion when she saw; my nerves trembled, and I struggled to stay on tempo. I heard a trumpet frack a note, and my own clarinet squeaked. My throat hitched up as a music judge turned his focus to me. I played louder and missed an accidental. The judge shook his head and spoke into the recorder he held as he walked away. My hands slipped over the keys on my instrument, and I took breaths in small gasps to keep playing through the closer. The tempo sped up, and my feet kept up just barely, in fact missing the off beats in between.

Somehow, I managed to march to my final spot in decent technique. My body struggled to stay still as I lowered my clarinet, my eyes exposing how ashamed I felt. 6 minutes of perfection was all I needed, and I had failed. The percussion began playing again, and we marched off as the audience clapped and yelled for us. I heard hardly any of it, and tried to focus on the beat of the bass drums as we left the field.

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