It’s the night of the Pop Idols concert. Amanda and I are on stage. The hall is packed with people.
“Cause I know how it hurts,” Amanda sings. “When you lose the one you wanted…”
She turns to me, and I continue, “Cause he’s taking you for granted… and everything you had got destroyed.”
Then we turn back to the audience and sing together, “If I were a boy…”
It feels like we’ve been singing together all our lives. We’re so in sync, it’s like we’ve become one person. I know exactly which way she’s going to turn and where she wants me to stand. And she seems to know the same about me.
The audience is lapping it up. I can hardly see their faces with the spotlight shining in my eyes, but isn’t that… isn’t that…?
I almost stop singing from the shock. It’s pure reflex that keeps me going. Amanda follows my gaze and stiffens as she sees who I’ve spotted.
It’s her mother and father sitting in the audience staring up at the stage. And there’s her brother too. And my mother… sitting a few rows back. What are they all doing here? None of them were supposed to come tonight. We were supposed to be safe.
Amanda’s mother is tugging at her husband’s sleeve and whispering something in his ear, but his eyes are riveted on us – on his two daughters singing side by side on the stage. Something inside me panics. I want to run out of the hall and hide away from everyone. But Amanda catches my eye and reaches for my hand. As her fingers curl around mine, I feel myself starting to relax.
It’s not what we practised, but we sing the rest of the song hand in hand, drawing strength from each other. I keep glancing over at our families sitting in the audience. My mom looks like she’s been carved from stone, while Amanda’s mom is agitated and upset. It’s just our father who’s completely unreadable. What is he thinking? What’s going on in his head? There’s no way of knowing.
All I know is that he can’t take his eyes off us. Then the song ends and the audience break into loud applause. The lighting has changed, and suddenly I can’t see anyone anymore.
My eyes blinded by tears, I follow Amanda off the stage, as we get ready to face our families.