As it sometimes happens, I found myself in a karaoke party last week-end. While people sang and made merry, I sat in a corner. Unnoticed. Alone.
As I nursed my drink, my mind wandered to one summer a long time ago. The memories are almost faded but the residual pain still stings sharply
Let me tell you my story.
I was innocent, naïve, bright-eyed and hopeful. After all, I was only 36.
I had a dream, you see. I wanted to sing. By God, I wanted to sing!
But all my life , I was told I could not. I was told I was out of tune. I was told I could not carry a note.
My attempts to prove otherwise had always been met with much taunting and derision. Vulnerable and unsure in my younger years, I kept silent.
But the music in my soul was restless. Finally, it could no longer be kept still.
It was that summer that I enrolled in the Ryan Cayabyab School of Music and met Teacher Jun. I knew – I was sure, certain – that with the right teacher, I could be a great singer.
I would show the naysayers. I would show all of them. After the end of the ten sessions I had paid for in advance, I would be asked to do a solo in a recital.
My friends and family would be there – invited on some pretext. I knew they would snicker as soon as they saw me on stage. But I also knew they would be be struck silent as soon as I had opened my mouth to release the beautiful notes that had been too long suppressed.
Everybody would rise at the end of my song, clapping wildly, tears pouring down their eyes. I would look down on them from the stage with triumph and magnanimity, generous with my love and forgiveness.
On my first session, I was ushered into a small room with a piano, a stool and a mirror. Teacher Jun was there waiting for me. He asked me to sing a piece of my choosing to show my range. I chose I’ll Never Say Goodbye which I had practiced over and over again in the bathroom to prepare for this moment, my moment.
Four lines into the song, I was asked to stop. Teacher Jun said it may be best for us to begin with scales. One hour of do-re-mi’s standing in front of a mirror with your hands on your tummy can pass by very slowly.
On my second session, a week later, I was prepared to give my showcase piece another go. But Teacher Jun had other ideas. He still wanted me to do scales. Who was I to argue? At the end of the session, I was sweating. So was Teacher Jun. But I felt we were making progress. I was on my way.
I was happy. But, alas, all too briefly.
On the third session, I did not even have the chance to do scales. Teacher Jun sat me down, looked me in the eye and very gently informed me that in our short time together, I was not able to hit one note right.
He suspected I might be tone-deaf, thus unable to emulate the piano notes correctly. He said that I should not waste my money by finishing the singing lessons . I had 7 pre-paid sessions still unused but he could make arrangements to convert these into Introduction to Piano lessons.
Starting from the basics would train my ears. And then maybe, someday, I could go back and try singing again. Who was he kidding?
We had 45 minutes left in the session. But there was no point in staying.
I left the room with my shoulders slumped and my head bowed. On my way out, I saw the ten-year olds waiting for their piano lesson sessions. I was better than them. I had an MBA. I hated them. I hated them all. I wished them acne and a lifetime of spurned love.
I never went back to Ryan Cayabyab's School of Music. I have never sung in public again.
Less you think so, I have no bitterness in my heart. None, whatsoever. But, let me just say that Paul Potts stole my dream 9 years later and made it his reality. I hate Paul Potts too. I have perfect teeth. He needs to go to a good dentist.. And I wonder - when Susan Boyle finally gets kisssed, will she turn into a princess?
Next time you see me in a karaoke party,leave me alone or buy me another beer and let's just discuss Friedrich Nietzsche