The fortune cookie

April 23, 2012
Sweat is trickling down my forehead. Tap,tap, tap, tap goes my pencil, insistent and quick. What’s the answer? Can it be answer choice B? No, that’s not right. What about answer choice D? That sounds like a good one…Doesn’t it? Ugh!!! I don’t know this! I DON’T KNOW THIS! I DON’T KNOW! I think as a repeatedly stab my paper with my pencil’s eraser. After a few seconds, I realize a pair of eyes watching me. I turn to see the observer and lock gazes with one of my classmates. His stare clearly says, “You didn’t study, did you? You’re dead.” He makes a cutting motion with his finger on his throat and raises his eyebrows at me: a question. I nod and he turns around, smiling. Know-it-all. I focus back on the test in front of me and gulp. I knew I should have studied, I knew I should have. But I was positive I knew this information. When it comes to history, I was a sponge. I am a smart procrastinator. I am the type of person who is annoyingly able to retain information for long periods of time. Study!? Pssh. I don’t even think it’s in my vocabulary. But now sitting in my U.S History class, pencil in hand but answer sheet completely empty, I wasn’t so sure I could call myself a sponge. I mean how can I forget a year’s worth of information. It was irrational for crying out loud. I know I knew this information. I know that Lowell invented the factory system we used today (or was it Samuel Slater). I knew that the England’s first permanent colony in the Americas was Jamestown (or was it Plymouth). I knew that Eli Whitney’s intention when he created the cotton gin was to decrease slavery (or was it to increase it). When did they sign the Magna Carta? What is the Magna Carta? My name is failure. I am a failure.






Week Later

The test scores came back. I can’t look at mine. I am terrified. From what I’ve heard, you were considered lucky if you got a 75. I close my eyes and bite my lower lip and ever so slowly take a peak of the grade. 97. 97!!! What!? I can’t believe this. I was so scared of failing and then like an object heading towards a black hole, I am sucked in to a memory.

I was sitting in my sister’s car, watching the cars ahead of us as I confessed to her one of my phobias. I was deadly afraid of failing. She did not look at me as she said like a true fortune cookie this: “People who are afraid to fail, do not, but those who aren’t will trip along rocks and learn from their experience and will just have to get right back up.”

I did not answer her, but instead dwelled on this new piece of information, and absorbed it…. just like a sponge.





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