She opened her eyes. It was Friday. It was again that dreadful day. If she could, she would have erased the day from the calendar. If the week had no Fridays she would never feel fear. Or much less, at least. She put her legs on the floor and with a slight push and swing of her upper body she got up, trying to take a deep breath, the way they teach in the yoga class. She assessed her body, looking for signs of illness or serious discomfort, which would justify an absence. There were none. Except, she did not feel well. Her breath was again in her chest, and she hit against the kitchen door on her way to the living room with her cup of coffee. The black sweet liquid went into the wrong pipe, and she had to cough to free her breath. She decided she would practice the piece at least one hour that day. Promise. Her day went by, lunchtime arrived, and the score was still untouched on the writing desk. I first had to have lunch, with an empty stomach I cannot practise properly, she told herself. She cooked some Italian penne, topping them with a generous portion of ragù, and extra parmesan cheese, she read somewhere it was good for the bones. She considered eating a second serving but decided against it, as too full a stomach was not good for the practice. Her empty plate in her hand, she was about to put it in the dishwasher when she changed her mind. She was skipping dinner that evening, after all, so she did need to finish that pasta. She added a sip of red wine, to clean the lightly sour tomato taste in her mouth. After cleaning the kitchen, she approached the writing desk and took the score in her hand, sitting down on the chair. Her body, warmed up by the copious meal and the wine, started sweating the same moment she opened the score. Stretched in the chair, her back reclined 45 degrees on the chair back, she took a couple of breath before realizing that she could not utter a single note in such conditions. She closed the score and went to take a nap. She told herself, there was still some hours before rehearsal. Yes, still four hours left before leaving home. Three hours. Two hours, the score on the desk was now in the shadow. She sat again and switched on the computer, there were a couple of e-mails she received over one week ago she had to reply. She reminded herself to breathe into the lower abdomen, but it hurt. Was it the breath? Or was it the stomach? She felt a contraction there, and she eyed the score, thinking that with that pain she was not able to practice before leaving. But she could not miss rehearsal, even if she wanted to. Because otherwise she would have to sing alone to show the choir director she knew the piece. But she didn’t. So, she could not skip the torture of singing that night, no matter how unprepared. She hated Fridays, and she hated herself.
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