I tried to explain why I couldn’t do it. I really did. But neither Mrs. Smith nor Tara would have any of it. I told them that I really couldn’t sing, not at all. I explained that I had a fear of crowds, and would fail miserably. However, they both seemed to have a solved resolution that I had no choice but to sing the anthem at the game today. In front of the entire school. By myself.
I knew my face was boiling when I repeated, “I can’t do it!”
“Yes, you can!” exclaimed Mrs. Smith. “And you will be spectacular!” Tara nodded exuberantly at her words.
Utterly vexed, I stormed out of the office without another word. I heard a sigh from Mrs. Smith and a muttered response from Tara before she ...view middle of the document...
The words echoed in my mind, slamming through the strings of confidence I had left.
The shrill bell rang in my ears like a loud alarm, and I jumped out of my seat, clumsily grabbing my things before hurrying out. The hallway was packed and claustrophobic, the fluorescent lights flickering alarmingly. Students sluggishly stomped their way to their lockers, burnt out from the week’s work. All I could think about, however, was the disgust in my stepdad’s voice, expressing his uncouth opinions of my so called, “useless habit—she’ll never get anywhere with that voice.”
Maybe I should just leave, I thought in a panicky state. Could it be that simple? As I reached the doors, so close to freedom, I felt a hand pull on my arm. I turned abruptly towards it, groaning in defeat when I saw that the hand was Tara’s. She pulled me back through the crowd with effort, dragging me gracelessly behind her. Squeezing us through the thick crowd of slow-moving people, she muffled something inaudible as we made our way to the back exit.
She pushed through the door, her hand still pulling on my arm, and we left the stuffed building, stepping into the shining summer. The rays of sunlight dipped down through the few swaying trees along the sidewalks. Even through my churning stomach, I regarded the clear blue sky, scattered with white streaks of clouds. As we turned the corner towards the football field, I began to see the bright healthy grass, trimmed to perfection. The cool wind was blowing through my hair, and I could see Tara smiling at the breeze whooshing in our faces.
I stopped abruptly at the sight of the bleachers. They were already half full and I was hyperventilating at the sheer number of people seated and chatting good naturedly, laughs mixed with the edging noise of talk. Tara kept pulling me along, telling me to calm down. We reached Mrs. Smith, whom we found pacing back and forth. When she saw Tara and I, her face lit up and she hurried over. Everything had blurred again as Tara explained to Mrs. Smith of my apparent decision. I...