“[…] ‘I would now like to invite Machel Montano to the stage…’
“The din increased, ensuring I would be incapable of hearing properly for the rest of the night. Almost splitting my face in half, a beaming grin enveloped my visage as my hero stepped into view… Machel Montano…”
Eleven-year-old Naparima Girls’ High School form one student Kristen Smith is our sixth shortlisted fictional writer for the inaugural Wired868 Write Start competition. Her essay is in the 11-15 category entitled ‘The day I met my local hero’:
“Come on! It’s gonna start soon!” I exclaimed as I fled from the confines of our car into the open night air of Port-of-Spain, studiously ignoring my parent’s calls to wait.
The Queen’s Park Savannah hadn’t been so full in a long time, as I weaved carefully between the extensive groups of people that were all there for the same reason my family and I were. Sitting smugly at the other side of the savannah, adorned in decorations, was a huge stage with band instruments in the background.
Above it, a large banner proclaimed the words I’d long awaited seeing: “MACHEL MONTANO.”
Once my parents had caught up to me and earnestly scolded me for rushing off, our immediate goal was to get our drinks cooler and picnic basket and choose a spot. Despite the stuffed and crowded air, there still persisted the inevitable stampede of latecomers that would arrive soon.
When we’d retrieved the excessive amount of Coca Cola, Sprite and snacks my mother had insisted we bring from the car, we dragged our burdens to a spot near the stage, spread the blanket and waited in eagerness and anticipation for the show to begin, as all around us the hustle and bustle increased.
Quickly growing impatient, I annoyed my parents with my relentless restlessness as we awaited the beginning of the show. At long last, an announcer strolled onstage, grabbing the microphone from the stand.
“Good evening everyone, nice to see you all out here tonight…”
A bored silence pervaded the savannah, while the man faltered for a moment over the audience’s lack of a response.
“Well, who’d like to hear some soca?!”
Explosions of cheers deafened me, even as I joined in excitedly.
“Then I would now like to invite Machel Montano to the stage!”
The din increased, ensuring I would be incapable of hearing properly for the rest of the night. Almost splitting my face in half, a beaming grin enveloped my visage as my hero stepped into view… Machel Montano.
As ‘Sound of Soca’ echoed through the area, my excitement grew as I danced along to the tune, simultaneously in disbelief that I could hear my favourite song directly from the source. However, the main event would not truly begin until after the concert, for my family and I at least.
My mother’s last minute procuration of backstage passes through a friend had seemed like a dream come true at the time, but the prospect of speaking to my hero and possibly tripping over my own feet or fumbling over my words now felt like a black cloud hanging over me.
Anxiety blended with excitement bubbled in my stomach as we packed our things, and I could have thrown up right then and there.
With the bright full moon glimmering on the now visibly trampled grass as the crowd dispersed somewhat, I heard the announcer from earlier trot onstage and exclaim, “Hello everyone, can all those with backstage passes please head behind the platform and wait for your turn to meet Machel; and will everyone else please leave the premises, this is considered to be loitering.”
Following his instructions, we hurried to the indicated area amidst a mob of people grumbling and complaining about being forced to abandon their ‘limes’.
After we presented our backstage passes and joined the line, I stood in anticipation as I waited for our turn to meet THE Machel Montano.
“Hey there!” the celebrity said to the group in front of us. I was too busy gawking open-mouthed at him to bother listening to the rest of their conversation. Nervousness overtook me again, but I pushed it away, took a deep breath and stepped forward.
“Hello!” Machel grinned as I beamed ear-splittingly. Eagerly I introduced myself and asked him question after question, inquiring after things like his favourite song, with my parents looking on in amusement.
Finally, I was ushered away just before the many irritated people behind me began to revolt, but not before I captured him in an embrace, shocking him speechless—something I would later deny.
As we drove home in comfortable silence, I exclaimed impulsively, “That was awesome!”
No one could argue with that.
Editor’s Note: Wired868 will announce the winners of the inaugural Write Start competition on 13 December 2021. The first place winner will get TT$6,000, a six-month mobile plan from bmobile, and two complimentary movie tickets to CinemaONE.
Click HERE for more information on the Wired868 Write Start prize structure and do share your favourite essays!