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November 10, 2010
Usually something like this happens on the first day of school, not at the end of second semester. There I am, sitting in my eighth period class, my mind drifting, oblivious to what is happening on the board. As my mind began to drift to other places, I hear my name called on and immediately snap out of it. I hear silence and can only assume that a question is being asked and I am expected to answer. My chair transforms into a bed of nails that is suddenly cold and unwelcoming. My mind races as fast as it possibly can to try and obtain any little piece of information regarding the discussion that just ensued. My stomach begins to tie itself into knots that would require a mechanical crane to undo.
I open my mouth to attempt a reply, but the only thing that leaves my mouth is the gum I was chewing. Instantaneously, I feel blood rush to my cheeks as well as a tingling feeling of disbelief. My heart jumps out of my skin as I look around to see if anyone had seen it. Of course, the person next to me is staring straight at me. I begin to go frantic as my mind is going a mile a minute. Maybe they just now looked over here and missed the whole thing, I think to myself. I reassure myself, yes, that is the case and I feel a tinge of relief. I debate how to dispose of the proof, finally deciding to “nonchalantly” put the gum back in my mouth and pretend it never happened. I figure if I can just act like it never happened, it will practically not exist. After the initial moment of shock passes, I begin to recover and pay more attention than I ever have in my life. The teacher, realizing my misery, moves the class on and I attempt to brush the whole episode off.
The class ends with about ten minutes extra, soI turn to talk to the boy next to me, whom I have been talking to all year. I say, “Hey Matthew, what did you do this weekend?” He stares at me as if I was abducted by aliens and recently beamed back to Earth. I find myself feeling self-conscious and wishing I had never engaged in a conversation. I discretely glide my tongue across the surface of my teeth to check if I had leftovers in my mouth from lunch; nothing. I start to replay my words back in my head to see if something was weird about it. Then it hits me, a sinking feeling that leaves me flustered and far from comfortable. I try to act cool and keep conversing like nothing is wrong, but it is past the point of no return. His name is Michael, not Matthew. My jaw drops as I realize what I’ve done and my heart feels as though it is beating like the wings of a hummingbird.
I start to laugh to try and break the glacier of ice that it seems I just created, but the sound comes out like a hyena on helium. My thoughts come up empty on anything I could possibly say to recover, and the look on his face says it all. Mortified at the awful situation that I just created, I decide that it may be better just to walk away; the slow walk of shame back to my desk. Although I was tongue-tied, I manage a quick “well, have a nice day,” and began to pack my bag. The last few minutes of waiting for the bell to ring go by slowly, such as a dog licking peanut butter of the roof of its mouth, painstaking and never-ending. To my benefit, not very many people seemed to notice as everyone was busy with the hustle and bustle of packing up. As my saving grace, the bell rings and class is over. I leave as quickly as possible from the class in which I dug myself so deep into a hole, there is no return.

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