"I don't get why us boys are so talentless," he said with a sigh, backstage. The area we had dominated seemed way more cheerful than the rest; all of us didn't seem to care much for the competition ahead.
Natalie had laughed at this, her eyes still fixated on her cello. Her green eyes sparkled with some sort of excitement as she curled her straight, brown hair along her index finger.
"Though you are the best in this quartet," Catherine had answered matter-of-factly, testing the tuning of her instrument as she sung to the tune of the song she had managed to memorise through a week of practice.
I pulled up my long sleeves, checking the watch which was strapped rather tightly around my wrist.
"We have five minutes," I announced, though no one seemed to hear.
It seemed as if no one really bothered.
I looked around, observing the people around us, those who were yet to go. People who were pacing, checking to see the time they had left, memorising their notes from the black-and-white sheets.
"Group two four?"
I noticed first how the usher called twenty four as two four, as if they were two separate numbers, two separate groups.
It was then that the first hint of nervousness appeared on Catherine's face. Natalie's gaze fleeted to all of us, stayed gazing at our eyes for a mere moment before she turned back to the usher. "Uh," Catherine said, "The string quartet, yes."
Before the usher even asked us to follow him, we gathered our instruments, our sheet notes, and stood up, looking at each other, smiling.
It was then I felt a certain feeling in my stomach; like all the breakfast I had eaten was not digested properly. Something like that and sour milk. I wondered if it could be nervousness that day.
Why? I wondered. I had never felt this sensation before, not on the stage, not before, not after the experience. Maybe it was because this was really famous. People worldwide came to participate.
Or maybe not.
"Follow me, please," the usher commanded, a politeness in his baritone and hushed voice.
"Actually," he said later, as we walked to to where the usher was leading us, "I feel Blythe is best."