Sometimes you don’t know, even when you do

His lungs were still filled with air, but his mind blanked.

The piano stopped. “What happened?”

He cleared his throat. “I… nothing.” He had forgotten the words. The words he had memorized backwards and forward. The words he had to present to the entire auditorium tomorrow. The words he couldn’t possibly have forgotten now.

“Then let’s start from the refrain.”

Not from the chest, but from the stomach. He reminded himself of this simple concept. The words had to be there. It was nerves. “All right.”

From amateur to professional, stage fright always found a way back to him.