You scroll through your classical playlist in search for Celtic Woman’s ‘The Voice’, one of the songs for your group performance taking place two weeks from now. You find it by the time your hand is turning the gold-plated door knob. You notice a few people in the distance, haphazardly scattered across the room as you let yourself in.


The gentle hum of the heating system fills the room along with the sound of a few shuffling bodies and idle chit-chat.


The air is even warmer in here, incredibly cozy with the perfect temperature for a nap, and you have to fight the temptation to run back to your car, speed home, and dive right into your bed.


The white tiles of the recently renovated flooring look even more immaculate under the fluorescent lighting of the spacious studio.


The bright lights attack your eyes and make you squint behind your glasses as they create a glare.


Everyone here has their earphones in already, and are singing along to the music they’re hearing just as you’re about to.

You look around and notice that Trixie isn’t here yet, but it’s not unusual. She hates coming to practice even a minute earlier than she has to.


You make your way over to a corner, right in front of one of the many floor-to-ceiling mirrors so that you can properly monitor your posture as you sing. You glance at your cheap plastic watch. Its digits read 6:50 AM.


 You only have ten minutes to warm up, which is good for one full go round, but considering this funkiness going on with your stomach, you’re not so sure. You’re worried you may need more time.


 You regard your figure, looking intently at the eyes of the girl staring back at you from behind thin, brown-framed glasses.


 You look…tired.


Incredibly tired.


And you know it’s not just because it’s early in the day. You always look like this. You’ve been constantly exhausted for years now, and it really shows. You feel a sigh escape you as you try not to let your mind wander toward negative thoughts like it normally does.


You bring your full focus to the current moment and the task at hand. You readjust your earphones as you feel one bud slipping out. You arch your back and bring your shoulders back so that they’re aligned with your hips. Lightly spreading your feet apart, you straighten your spine as best as you can, and even though it still makes you feel slutty, you push your chest out to fix your slouch.


You feel the tension leave your lips as you part them slightly, a measure you always have to take against your tendency to purse them. With your posture adjusted, you hit play, and soon, the harmonious melody of Celtic Woman’s ‘The Voice’ fills your ears.


You begin to mimic her, singing along to her hypnotic voice without having to think about the words as they are etched into your memory—thanks to having the song on replay non-stop for the last several days. As the music continues to stream into your ears, you momentarily close your eyes as you feel yourself being transported out of the two thousand square foot rehearsal studio to a tranquil cottage on a lovely green meadow in Ireland.


You feel so in sync and free, and you continue to sing with increasing abandon, as if you don’t have a care in the world. It all feels so…magical; like nothing else in the world. You forget all your troubles, past and present, and think only of the music and how amazing the harmonious rhythm makes you feel. You open your eyes and continue to monitor your posture.


Everything looks and feels right so far. You glance at the MP3 player, noting that you’re already two minutes in. Your surroundings have become a blur, and all you can focus on is singing, as if it’s the only thing you know how to do.


Three minutes in and everything is still flowing smoothly. Your timing and precision are on point. You continue to sing fairly effortlessly, and the difficult bridge is coming up. You tackle it head on as you’ve done many times before. You watch yourself closely in the mirror again, regarding the flex of your abs as you feel their muscles contract.


You feel the various parts of your body—your diaphragm, your lungs, your larynx, and your lips—all working together in perfect synchrony to control and maintain the pitch, tone, timbre, depth, and fluidity of your voice. You feel the power in your voice as you sing at the top of your lungs, feeling the waves reverberate within you and escape your lips.


You’re so in your element right now, completely in your zone.


Nothing beats the feeling you get when you sing like this.


Nothing gets you on such a high or gives you such an overwhelming sense of freedom—


Abruptly, you feel yourself lurch forward unnaturally and your voice cracks. You feel the warm air forced from your lungs in a strained rush as it escapes your flared nostrils. Your chest tightens in response.


Oh, God…


It’s happening again.



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