"...Tessa Hatchett singing Make You Feel My Love..."
The moment came too quickly. I wasn't ready. But I was soon pushed toward the door leading out onto the stage. I walked shyly across the set, looking out at the audience. Friends, family, neighbors. They were all here for me.
I stepped up to the microphone. The music started. My heart was beating a million miles an hour, my breaths suddenly shallow. And there was my cue. I swallowed what seemed like an endless amount of spit and began. "When the rain is blowing in your face, and the whole world is on your case, I could offer you a warm embrace, to make you feel my love..." My voice shook along with the rest of my body. My hands, knees, and my heart all shook uncontrollably.
"...When the evening shadows and the stars appear, and there is no one there to dry your tears, I could hold you for a million years, to make you feel my love. I know you haven't made your mind up yet, but I would never do you wrong. I've known it from the moment that we met, no doubt in my mind where you belong..." My parents beamed in the audience, my friends all waving at me. You can do this, I said to myself in my head.
I opened my mouth. No words. The band kept playing in the background. I knew the words from hours of practice, but nothing came out of my mouth. The moment lasted an eternity. I looked back at the guitarist and down at the ground, suddenly fiddling with my hair. I almost expected to get kicked off the stage or booed or for my song to just stop. But the music kept playing, and the people in front of me kept staring in anticipation. I picked up on the next line I could think of, "...No, there's nothing that I wouldn't do, to make you feel my love..."
It was the instrumental break when the humiliation set in. I'm a failure, I said to myself, I try and try but there will never be something I can just do right. I stared around, choking back tears. And there was my cue again. "The storms are raging on the rolling sea, and on the highway of regret. The winds of change are blowing wild and free. You ain't seen nothing like me yet..." It took a tremendous effort to keep singing when I knew I had already failed everyone. My family, my friends, my neighbors, my supporters, and me.
I sang the last words of the song, and hole still burning in my delicate heart. "I could make you happy, make your dreams come true. There's nothing that I wouldn't do. Go to the ends of the earth for you, to make you feel my love..." The music finally slowed. "To make you feel my love." With the applause I headed back as quickly as I could. I walked through the halls backstage and around the back of the building and sat down among loved ones in the audience. "You did amazing," they all said. All I could say was, "I forgot my lyrics."
That night I watched my recorded performance on my camera. My voice shook terribly and when I forgot the words, the pain was clear on my face. I've never seen a person so panicked on stage.
I wrote in my journal.
"July 13, 2011 11:32 p.m.
I can't sleep.
Today was my first solo performance. F-.
I sand "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele. I shook like I was in an earthquake, messed with my hair, and forgot an entire verse of the song.
I wish I could forget tonight. Everyone says I did good and that they're proud of me, but after watching it on my camera, I know it's all lies.
I think I'll cry all through the night."