This week’s RemembeRED prompt is from Jennifer Dillon of Whispatory.
School trips. We all go on them. What trip do you remember the most? Where did you go? Who was with you? How did you get there? Have you ever been back?
Write a memoir post about a memorable school trip. Word limit is 600.
The whole way to the Academic Triathlon they had pointed their fingers and sneered my direction. I had received the invitation to attend just as they had, but because I had warmed a chair regularly in detention and spent my minutes between classes on the ‘wrong side” of the school, they must have missed that detail.
The tests, graphs and other measurement tools meant to flatter or confine, told me that I was smarter than most of them by far. I didn’t find solace as they did by burying my nose in 8 inch thick books cramming the last moment before the competition. Instead I stared out the bus window at the life passing by. I crafted story lines, I dreamed and I created. I had no use for studying over material I already knew. I strained at bonds for new knowledge.
We had filed in the auditorium and sat as directed at tables with buzzers. A large white screen in front of us flashed the questions and a woman with a monotone voice read them as though we couldn’t read ourselves. The first section was group questions. We were given time to consult each other before the answer was required.
Their previous judgements dictated that they never once looked my direction for an answer. I knew them all. They quickly rose to the top three during this time. I say “they” because it was through no contribution of mine. I clearly was not part of the team.
The next round was going to be the individual challenges. Only a few were chosen by the director and I could hear the crash of sighs as I was one of the ones called to the buzzer. This was the moment of truth. A time to shine or burnout.
The questions boldly flashed out and I heard buzzer after buzzer sound before I halfheartedly hit mine at the last possible moment to provide the worst choice of answer. My head screamed the right answer, but my heart was broken. This was what was expected. I was never meant to shine here.
Back in the bus on the slow journey home, those eyes told me to feel shame. They wanted me to feel like the loser they just knew I was. After glaring for a moment back at them, I turned my eyes back out the window at the passing world. Out there somewhere I would shine when someone finally took the time to look.