The crowd begins to applaud as the orchestra members take their seats. Cloaked in darkness, PIANIST walks past the blood-red curtains and into the stage lights. Standing at her bench, she turns her head left and gives a quick nod to acknowledge the audience. The sound of heightened applause reaches her ears yet everything but the piano before her is peripheral. 

At the age of 6, she began to play, mainly to escape to a world where she wasn’t constantly teased. Her  ill-fitted clothes, crooked nose and dirty nails overshadowed her kind and inquisitive nature. The sound of her Casio PT-100 keyboard invigorated her very much like a heavy rain breathes life into arid land. The piano became her refuge and companion. She felt the energy coursing through her fingers within the first few seconds of touching the ivory polished keys. As the years roll on and Pianist feels compelled to work later into the night, there are moments where she feels no separation between herself and the instrument. 

It is this moment that Pianist has been preparing for her entire life. Seated, she feels the nerves begin to kick-in but grounding her hands on the keys steadies her mind. Pianist feels invincible and terrified all at the same time. The conductor glances her way and then raises the baton. The tingling sound of the triangle marks the beginning of the piece. 

This must be what Superwoman feels like when she is about to come face-to-face with the villain. 

Pianist's solo is melodious and fluid right from the start. With eyes closed, Pianist flies higher with each passing note that floats into one ear and out the other of each audience member. Suddenly, everything stops. A slip of her middle and ring fingers leads to a cacophonous sound. Pianist is jolted out her trance-like state and she realizes that she has made an irrevocable mistake. The disharmonious sound echoes for what feels like eternity and goes flat. 

Silence can be the sound of great peace or great panic.  

The conductor’s baton moves swiftly in the air to usher in the violins without another beat passing. It is now up to the conductor to corral her troops and get them to safety. Pianist takes a deep breath and falls right into line, with the same vigor before her slip. Recover and rise to the challenge before you, Pianist affirms to herself. With grace, the performers finish the final movement of the piece.

Pianist looks up and locks eyes first with the conductor then with the first chair violinist. I am Superwoman but every now and then, Superwoman needs backup.

They are all superheroes, stronger together than apart. 

In honor of Women’s History Month, I bow my cape to fellow Superwomen all over the world! - Mini

This post also appears on Women's iLab to inspire the next generation of female leaders.