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Test Day Trials This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Nineteen pairs of clammy hands, bathed in anxiety and soaked in sweat, shook as they rested on the wooden desks. Each had one sharpened pencil on it, pointing toward the teacher's desk where the thing we feared lay in a pile. Sunlight gleamed through the windows, shining upon the dread and anguish floating in the air. An aroma of fear filled my nose. I forced my eyes back to the endless crawling black words, trying to cram last-minute facts into the corners of my mind.

Blue seats lined up like soldiers behind the quivering desks, walls closing in on our confinement. Knowledgeable posters on the walls, hidden behind screens, taunted us in soft voices. Whispering questions, voices buzzed with agitation and frustration.

Hearts boomed together as one drum, the rhythm waking our adrenaline. Apprehension built and sugary unease tiptoed onto our tongues, clogging them with sudden restlessness, forcing our throats to choke on the excess saliva of anticipation. Suddenly, an alarming clang of words exited the teacher's mouth and the hated timer was set.

Scrambling, searching, we fervently scouted our minds for knowledge to fill the millions of lines on the paper before us, like ditches in a farmer's field. One by one we plowed them. Some of the soil was rough, so we skipped over it, hoping for sudden and magical ­irrigation to loosen it up. Hope filled the room, covering the fear on every person's face. It warmed the air as each of us realized that maybe – just maybe – we would survive this. As we continued, though, tension and concern for the outcome began to block our thinking. Pencils shivered, teeth rattled, and wallows of worry wormed around the room.

The scritchity-scratch of others' pencils filled my mind; pangs of dismay overwhelmed me as I realized I wasn't fully prepared. A fretfulness displaced the air, which had just begun to give us some comfort.

The clock ticked ever so quickly and the ditches were not all plowed. Our hands were worn and used, hardening in recollection and hurried writing, sore and aching with every twitch as time walked on swiftly, never missing a beat. Our hands, white and sticky with sweat, shouted for us to stop.

We waited apprehensively for the timer to signal the end of our torture, yet at the same time we hoped it would never arrive and allow us to fully accomplish the task we were here to do. Nervousness rained down, swallowing up the last hope we held. Struggling, I grabbed at my thoughts, searching anxiously for the switch to a light bulb. Yes! I jotted down the tidbits that bounced one by one through the nerves connecting my brain to my hand. Bland air rushed down my throat, stinging slightly from frenzied actions.

Ding! The fateful sound cut through the air, ending our furious scribbling. Our papers were whisked off the tables, the swooshing sound surprisingly sweet. Faces instantly radiated relief, a boulder burden rolled off onto the next batch of victims.

We were slightly weak-kneed, slightly dizzy-headed, but much improved from the frantic moments before. Smiles were exchanged, reminders that we did indeed survive, no matter how difficult the obstacle. We did it! The proud whiteboard shone on our achievement. Nineteen stiff desks creaked in happiness. A squat bookshelf displaying rows of paperback teeth nodded approvingly. The warmth of the sunlight finally reached our smiles, illuminating them in the dark of the testing classroom.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Thunderfirst said...
May 3, 2009 at 2:50 am:
Oh yeah! I have to admit test taking is one of the scariest things for me!
 
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