I looked down into my lap and traced the outlines of the flowers on my dress with my pointer finger. My legs were crossed at the heels and pushed under my metal chair, along with my backpack. My heels dug into the fabric of the pack but I didn’t notice.

Amy Jackson was sitting to my left looking at the itinerary for the celebration. I lifted my eyes from my dress to her. The white lace of her outfit made her eyes look fierce. They sparkled as she scanned the paper in her hands.

Her hair was brushed behind her ears and it only fell to the nape of her neck. She was able to make her pixie cut look sophisticated without much effort.

“Hey, look. It’s you,” she said as she pointed to my name. It fell under Tyler Nordstrom and Anna Zetterland’s and was preceded with Lyrics written by. I stared at where she was pointing.

My lips tugged into a small smile.

“Yeah, it is. Tyler said that he and Anna are really excited,” I said.

“Have you heard it yet?”

“No, I haven’t. Anna asked if I wanted to hear it yesterday but I wanted to be surprised with everyone else.” My eyes darted to the piano in the corner of the room and back to Amy. “I’m nervous, but I know that they’ll make it sound amazing no matter what.”

I folded my hands in my lap and started kneading them together. I pulled my right thumb down between both hands and folded it into my palms. I chewed on the corner of my bottom lip.

“Mari!” I heard from behind me. I looked behind my shoulder and my lips turned down at the corners. “Mari, this is your poem on the back.”

I sighed with relief as I turned and realized it was only Professor Triezenberg. My smile returned. She was perched on the very edge of her seat, leaning forward while sweeping her fingers down the words I had written a year earlier.

“Yes,” I chuckled, “Tyler and Anna are going to perform it today.”

“I didn’t realize you liked to write poetry,” she said. I merely smiled and nodded my head and turned around. Not many people knew my interest in poetry.

Professor Werden walked to the podium and began to announce the winners of that year’s Kiosk prizes. I sat glassy-eyed as we heard the champions read their pieces to the audience. One-by-one they took the stage, and one-by-one they left.

I shook my head and the room came back into focus as I heard my name.

“I was reading through the poetry selections for this year’s Kiosk and Mari Pizzini’s poem just grabbed my attention,” Anna was saying. I looked up and waved as everyone turned in my direction. My cheeks reddened.

“Her poem is written on the back of the brochure if you want to follow along as I sing. I hope you enjoy,” Anna finished. Her smile was almost as bright as the plastic-y gemstones that covered her knee-length skirt.

She stepped back so she was in line with the piano and turned to nod at Tyler, who was sitting on the piano bench. He dipped his head down and ran his fingers across the keys, coming to a stop at Middle C. Then he played.

Their song flowed with key after key, and Anna’s voice soon joined the serenade. With each word, my head moved slowly towards my hands in my lap.

Painfully scrolling brought my hand to my cheek. Bloodstained thoughts and dreams broke my heart again. A tear streaked down my cheek and my neck, landing in my lap.

I squeezed my eyes shut, tightly, as Anna continued to sing. My heart was up there with her and every word showed it more plainly to our attentive audience. Her voice died off as she sang tomorrow, and my breathing hitched as Tyler echoed her words with his keys. I sighed out as the music died, and lifted my head. I met Anna’s eyes and smiled.