Hello! If you're just tuning in or need a refresher, it's marching band season and Summer (drumline) has a crush on Micah (drum major), but she was too anxious to talk to him or tell her friends about it. She made a profile on Chat With Me (you can only talk to people at your school and the conversations can't be tracked) and they've been talking (except Summer is pretending to be someone named Anna). They've grown close, Micah wants to meet her, and Summer knows it's time to come clean, but she's terrified.
This is draft 2, and I'm more interested in big picture comments than sentence level/grammar comments. Thanks for reading! <3
What am I doing? What am I doing? What am I doing? What am I doing? What am I doing?
It’s Saturday. It’s competition day. The day that Anna meets Micah and I have to come clean.
Before I have to leave for the school, I type a lame excuse about why Anna suddenly can’t make the competition and we’ll have to reschedule and I’m oh so sorry, but I can’t bring myself to actually hit send. I promised, and I’ve already let him down so much.
He told me last night that he was excited for today, sending another knife to my stomach. I’m sure he’s expecting fireworks and magic and some cosmic connection when our eyes meet for the first time and he finally gets to meet “Anna”. That’s what I would be expecting at least.
He’s not expecting Summer Rhodes saying SORRYSORRYSORRYSORRYSORRY.
May never did call me back so we could talk through a plan. I wish I had her moral support going into this, but this is a nightmare I’ll just have to endure alone.
My mom drives me to the school so I can suffer through seeing Micah at our pre-competition rehearsal. I’m completely silent, which I blame on being tired, which isn’t completely a lie because I stayed up most of the night ruminating about what I’m going to say to him today.
We’re allowed to stick around the competition after our portion is over to watch other bands and have a parent pick us up, or we can ride home on the bus. Micah told me last night he’s getting a ride so we can meet.
As we turn onto the street leading to the school, I imagine myself telling my mom that I changed my mind, she doesn’t need to pick me up because I’m tired and I want to ride home on the bus after all. But the words get stuck on my tongue, and I say nothing.
My mind is all over the place at rehearsal. The knowledge that it’s all going to be over in a matter of hours, coupled with the fact that he’s standing mere yards away, is enough to keep my head sufficiently out of the game. Usually when I strap my drum on, everything else leaves my mind and I’m focused and peaceful. Not today.
“What’s gotten into you?” Kaila asks when we stop for a water break. “Is everything okay? You’re not acting like yourself.”
I take a big swig of water and repeat the same lie I told my mom. “Just tired. Sorry.”
“Well try to get yourself together before Taylor notices and gets on you. You know how he gets on competition days.”
“And every day,” I mumble.
Too late. Taylor is already marching towards me, water bottle swinging in his hand.
“Good luck.” Kaila gives me a small smile and leaves to join her friends.
“You know what I’m going to say,” He says pointedly.
I do, so I go ahead and say, “I’m sorry.”
“I don’t need sorry, I need fixes. Or did you forget that we have a major competition today?”
Every competition is major to Taylor. “No, I know. I’m sorry. I’m just tired. I’ll do better, I promise.”
“Tired. Do I need to start instituting a curfew the night before competitions again?”
“Again? That was as thing?”
“It was when I was a freshman. But in any case, I know you’re shooting for section leader next year, and I honestly think you’ve got a good shot. I was going to put in a good word for you at the end of the season, but if you have too many more days like this,” He lets the sentence hang.
I stare at him for a second. I had no idea that I was Taylor’s choice for his successor. I know May had a big hand in choosing Taylor, so if he put in a good word for me, that would be huge.
“It was one bad rehearsal,” I reason. “I won’t let it affect our performance later. I’ll get myself together, I promise.”
“You better.” He gives me one final stare and then walks back to his spot in the field.
Leave it to Taylor to really boost your confidence.
As we move through our final warm-up before we take the field for our next competition, I will myself, command myself, beg myself, to put Micah out of my mind and not worry about the possible repercussions and outcomes of today. But the more I tell myself don’t think about it don’t think about it don’t think about it, naturally, the more it sticks in my mind.
All the way until we’re at the gate, ready to go on for our performance.
We added some new effects this week that should look really cool if we can execute everything well. But as I stand at the gate, my back turned away from the band finishing up on the field, instead of running through the show and all of the recent changes in my head like I’m supposed to be doing, all I can think about is what’s going to happen after we leave the field and put our things away and everyone disperses to go back home or watch more of the competition. And all that does is make the pit in my stomach twist and writhe.
We take the field with my mind still firmly on Micah and what’s going to happen this afternoon.
We set up our warm-up formation, Micah makes his trek to the back sideline, and I’m thankful that we’ve done this warm-up enough times that my brain can turn off for a second and operate on autopilot.
We get set in our first formation and I look up at him standing on top of the ladder positioned on the 50 yard line.
I think back to all of our long conversations and all of the times I felt so safe and happy talking to him about things that I can’t even talk to my friends about. He made it so easy to be Anna. And it could all end today. He may never talk to me again because I was Anna.
I don’t hear the Mr. Beat clicks from the front sideline. Micah counts off.
The opening drum roll starts. Without me. I missed it.
For the first time in my life, I missed the entrance. Because I was thinking about Micah.
I stand momentarily frozen. I can’t come in late because it’ll be obvious, but just standing here would also look pretty obvious if a judge were to talk by.
Before I can work out what to do, it’s time to start moving and I’m a half second late to leave my dot, which matters. It’s enough for a judge to potentially notice and knock points off, and that would be entirely my fault.
I have to get my head focused on what’s important right now. Micah can wait. He has to wait.
Do your job do your job do your job.
Poor Unfortunate Souls goes better, but every time I have to turn around and I see Micah on that back sideline, my brain starts to spiral again.
I can’t believe myself. My mistakes. My failures.
Not only will Micah cease to be mine after today, I can probably go ahead and kiss section leader good bye too. I don’t deserve it after this. Section leaders have to be able to block everything else out and focus on the task at hand and I can’t manage to do that for ten minutes.
I make it to my final spot and play the last hit, and I immediately want to cry. I can feel the rest of the drumline’s confused stares on the back of my neck. They obviously heard every single one of my mistakes.
I wish I could run off the field and hide. I don’t want to face the wrath of Taylor, the sympathy of Bryn, or have to look at future section leader Kaila. I just want to go home and cry. But I can’t, because now it’s time to come clean to Micah.
Once we’re clear of the field, Taylor practically growls at me. “We’ll talk later when I’m less irritated.”
I will myself not to cry. I’m right on the edge of completely losing it. I might have cost the band major points that could be the difference in our place today. Just because I couldn’t get my mind off of Micah. Just because I have to tell him the truth. Just because I had the nerve to be Anna.