"H…ey…Hey! Snap out of it!"
Mei Yun felt oddly disoriented. Wasn't she at home resting her eyes from writing her Master's thesis? Why is someone yelling at her – and a man no less?
When she finally found her bearings, Mei Yun came face-to-face with a youthful face; one she recognised.
'Oh? Isn't that the famous pianist, Wang Jun? But doesn't he seem too young? Like ten years too young?'
"Miss! Can you hear me? Should I call an ambulance?" Wang Jun wore a greatly concerned expression as he held onto Mei Yun's shoulders.
Mei Yun's head cleared and her eyes focused on the handsome man in front of her. It was definitely Wang Jun but he was indeed younger than his likeness in all the albums she purchased. This Wang Jun looked around 20 years of age with black hair slicked back and kind eyes, giving him an air of maturity despite his boyish looks.
"W-where am I?" Mei Yun asked, still a little disoriented.
"You're in front of SOPA." Wang Jun replied cautiously. He didn't want to startle her lest she pass out.
"SOPA? As in School of Performing Arts? What am I doing here?" Mei Yun hadn't stepped foot in SOPA for around ten years; not since her terrible performance which finally gave her the push to quit music and pursue the sciences.
"Well, you were performing and the panel gave you…" he hesitated, "some strong words and you left looking rather sad."
'Wait! Performance at SOPA! Could it be?'
She pulled her phone out of her pocket. Looking at the brand and version gave her an indication on the year – an iPhone 3; the year is 2010.
She checked the date: 27th April 2010.
'I-I've really gone back in time! I'm 16 years old now and this is the day of the soul-crushing performance that made me quit music for good.'
'That meant that Wang Jun looking so young wasn't just a coincidence. He IS young and yet to become famous.'
'Wait! Wasn't Wang Jun supposed to be meeting with some record label representative right now?! What is he doing talking to me?'
"But what are you doing here, shouldn't you be meeting with some record label representative?" She asked.
Wang Jun gave her a perplexed look, "How do you know I was supposed to meet with a record label representative?"
'Uh oh! I slipped up!'
In one of Wang Jun's interviews a few years after his debut, he mentioned that his start on the international stage came from this specific performance where he met a record label representative and released his first album. Of course, this hasn't occurred yet since he had yet to sign a deal with the representative. He also never revealed the name of said record label.
"Um…I know some record label representatives were coming today to observe the performances. I saw someone approach you so I assume that he was just one of them." She barely managed to explain without sounding nervous.
Wang Jun raised an eyebrow but he didn't press it. Mei Yun knew that he didn't fully believe her so she changed the subject.
"You came out because I was crying. You wanted to comfort me, didn't you?"
Mei Yun remembered that after leaving the concert hall, she cried herself into a stupor. She didn't eat or drink anything that day due to nerves so she collapsed as a result. When she woke, she was already in the hospital. The nurses told her that a young man carried her there and paid for her stay. That man must have been Wang Jun.
There was some embarrassment in Wang Jun's eyes as he answered, "I…didn't agree with the panel. Your interpretation of Paganini Caprice No. 5 was appropriate. You even used the original bowing. You just…" He trailed off.
'Needed more confidence.'
Mei Yun knew that after many years of reflecting on that performance.
She definitely had the potential to play beautifully but her crippling low self-esteem at the time increased her anxiety to such an extent that she literally fell apart on stage.
"Heh, my annoying stage fright strikes again." She smiled wryly.
As a reborn woman (or girl since she is technically still 16), she already knew what was the matter with her performances. It took many years to build up her self-confidence during which she participated in many social clubs where she had to talk to crowds. In addition, she took up a major where she would have to present her research and be bombarded with questions that would take apart all her hard work to look for a single fault.
What performance anxiety? Hah!
Perhaps she can finally achieve her old dream of becoming a solo violinist. Her attitude has changed but she wondered if she had the skills to back it up. Her body now still had the well-tuned hands of a classically trained musician but her mind didn't. Well, only time will tell.
"Looks like I have yet to conquer my fear of the stage even though I've been playing for so many years." She sighed tiredly and glanced at Wang Jun who seemed to feel sorry for her, "I wonder how you do it."
"Stage presence? I would say –"
Mei Yun wanted to thank her stomach sarcastically for bad timing.
"I'm sorry." She apologised without as much embarrassment as a normal person would have, "Due to nerves, I couldn't eat anything so being relaxed like this has reminded my body that I haven't eaten in hours."
She turned and picked up her violin case, strapping it on her back.
"Would you like to have lunch with me? You probably gave that record label representative your contact details so you have no need to stay here any longer. I still want to know how you conquer stage fright."
Wang Jun just stared at this teenaged girl who casually invited him for lunch. She doesn't know him and yet…
"Relax," She replied as if she was reading his mind, "I'm harmless. I will even pay if you would rather—"
"No!" Wang Jun refused a bit too quickly, "Ahem, I mean there is no need for you to pay. I'll be glad to have lunch with you and pay for my share." He replied a bit embarrassed at his earlier outburst.
Mei Yun smiled and walked in front of him before turning around, "My name is Mei Yun. 'Mei' as in 'plum blossoms', not 'beauty'; though you can consider me beautiful."
Wang Jun was dazzled by her bright eyes and confident smile. It was a far cry from the wailing girl minutes before.
"My name is Wang Jun."
He gave no comment for the 'beautiful' vs. 'plum blossom' wordplay she made.