Heart rate 120bpm. It just happens to be the same rate as the song that is playing at the moment. A nervous vibration runs through my leg, up my spine and into my fingers. I look around. No-one else feels it, they are deep in conversation and completely unaware of the incredible things happening around them. As the song finishes a line of sweat runs down my back and my hands clench uncontrollably in anticipation. The singer takes a swig of water and reaches up to the mic. “We'd like to ask Oliver up to the stage”
My heart rate doubles, I look around expecting to see people looking at me. They aren't. Still in conversation they don't understand what is happening. I get up. The walk to the stage goes from 10 meters to a hundred and each step rings out the toll to my own death sentence. Every sense says no but I am walking now and it is too late. I reach the stage and climb up. I've been up before, it is one large step that requires a bit of a hop. It feels like Everest
The singer clears his throat, “we dedicate this song to Oliver, our drummer” and the guitarist starts. 1.. 2.. 3.. 4, 1.. 2.. 3.. 4, 1.. 2.. 3.. 4, 1.. I got it, I started on the right beat, amazing... shit, where are we... 4.., and then everyone is in! Lead, second and base guitar and we are all in time. The song changes as the singer starts “Look at the stars..” 3.. 4.. and then it is over. 4 minutes and 29 seconds gone and I remember nothing. I am sure that we missed a verse it was over that quickly. I leave the stage, grab a beer and sit down at the same table I was at before. After 5 minutes talk returns to motorbikes and girls. Nothings happened.
Later Bimal comes over to talk to me and I ask about the missed verse. He looks at me a bit strange and tells me I didn't miss a beat. He tells me how nervous he was and that he was repeating to himself “don't mess up, don't mess up” I didn't imagine the look of relief on his face. He is proud but not just of me, he is proud of himself. Tomorrow the sun will rise as normal, at 2pm I will have my drum lesson as normal and, If I am lucky, the band will let me play again.