I sat in the practice room. Charlotte was in her exam already. My fingers moved through the notes of my pieces automatically. In my head I was desperately trying to remember everything I had been taught over the last few months.
"What does this French mean? How does this piece go again? Oh I hope I don't forget how to play my memorised pieces."
Nervousness fluttered at my heart. For a moment I tensed up. Then I gave myself a mental slap.
"It doesn't matter that you're under prepared. It doesn't matter that the teacher forgot a whole lot of things. As long as I pass the exam I'll be happy. Why worry about it?"
At once I felt more relaxed. I was almost cheerful as I stepped into the exam room. But the dread of exams still lingered. Images still flitted through my mind. I'd forgotten how to play a piece. the examiner had asked me to do something I'd never heard of before. I couldn't remember any of my general knowledge."
"The first scale is..." I was off!
The pieces whizzed by. I didn't happen to forget anything. I was able to answer most of the questions. And suddenly the exam was over and I was walking out of the room with my result clutched in my cold hand.
Outside, in the bitter air, faithful Charlotte was sitting on the steps, waiting for me to come out.
"I'm sorry, I had to open my results before you came out. Mr C. wanted to know."
"Never mind." I knew she'd wanted to wait.
"How did you do?" Mr C asked.
We looked at my results. Wow! I'd done really quite well, considering.
"I didn't want to tell you this before," Mrs C said, "but you had a tough examiner too. You've both done really well."
There weren't any disappointed tear like last year. We fairly flew to the car where Mum and the two smaller girls were waiting patiently for us.
"Wow! I'm so pleased." Mum gave us each a big smile. "Let's go out for hot chocolate shall we?"
"OH YES PLEASE!" we chorused.
Over hot chocolate and donuts we discussed the exams.
"I didn't like the singing," Charlotte said. "And I'd never done one of the ear test before."
I shuddered. That's my greatest fear, apart from failing of course.
"I didn't like the general knowledge. She wanted to know how many movements my sonata had and I didn't know," I said.
"Never mind. It's all over now." Mum said. "How about I get a cake and something nice for lunch while you finish up here?"
Soon we saw her come out of the shop, her trolley full of good things.
"These are for you." Mum handed Charlotte and me each a bunch of beautiful roses. Charlotte's were pink and mine orange.
"Oh thank you," I cried. "I've never been given flowers before."
"Let's put our bunches together in a vase," I suggested to Charlotte on the way home.
"They'll look so nice together," she agreed enthusiastically.
We trooped back to the car, all happy and contented. Exams are terrifying things, but they gave us some good things: roses, hot chocolate, and cake. I think it was well worth it.