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The Billion Dollar Folder
“Oh, no… no, no, no!” I shrieked as I dug through my backpack. There was the pocket--the pocket where my math folder resides. Well, resided. I pushed my brown poof ball of hair behind my ears, as I bent over my chair to open every single pocket in my backpack. And sure enough, it wasn’t there. Panic rushed through me. This was my last chance to prove to my parents that I wasn’t as irresponsible as they thought I was. Usually, I wasn’t one to freak out over a measly piece of homework. But my parents were. In an attempt to calm myself, I took a deep breath.
Only one piece of homework, right? Just ask someone to send you a picture of it! a voice whispered in my head, as I looked in my mirror to the left of me and gave myself a quick pep talk to refocus myself. That’s right. I’m just gonna text my friend, and everything will be alright. I grabbed my phone from my dresser, sent a message, and waited anxiously for the “online” symbol. Luckily, Amy responded immediately. She was the exact opposite of me: organized and a straight “A” student. She was probably done with all her homework. And the next three days’.
“Yeah, sure, Gigi! Why? Did you forget to grab it from the teacher’s desk? Anyways, happy to help!” she responded. A sigh of relief escaped out of me.
“Thanks!” I replied. To be honest, I didn’t want to do the homework just yet. I laid down on the bed with my phone and convinced myself that it was okay to take “short” breaks. “No, I just forgot my math folder at school again!”
“Uh, wait. What about the test tomorrow? Don’t you need all the notes in there?” Amy said to me, with three “confused face” emojis at the end of her question.
Oh, no. No. No. This day just got ten times worse. Make that a billion. How could I have forgotten? Well, the test and the math folder. My parents had made a decision exactly two weeks and three days ago to ground me and begin math tutoring if I couldn’t raise my grade, which was a D. And raising my grade would mean to stop forgetting things. It had been successful. Until now. My mind flashed back to the moment my math teacher had told us about the test, just about 3 hours ago.
“Ok, class. There’s going to be a test tomorrow. Test. Not quiz. And you know what test means: 65 percent of your grade. I know it’s last minute, but I know all of you guys would have waited until the last day to study anyways.” Miss Scott said, smoothing all the creases in her crisp, white dress. The class groaned, and I took out my agenda, and began to dig around my backpack for a pen to write “test” in large font, so I wouldn’t forget to study and pay more attention to math tonight. Writing in my planner everyday about homework and tests was part of my plan to make sure I wouldn’t forget to do or get something, and it had been working for the past two weeks. As I was digging through my pencil pouch to get a pen, Amy’s watch made it’s daily peep, signifying brunch would start in exactly one second. She had spend an hour setting that alarm, since she already knew whatever we were learning that day. When that bell rang, my mind always goes blank. It’s brunch; what I am supposed to do? Sit there and write in my agenda while everyone runs out of the room? I stuffed my agenda back into my backpack, slung it over my shoulder, and ran out the door.
So that’s when I forgot to write in my agenda! But it didn’t matter anymore. I didn’t need the big, “TEST” in my agenda now; I needed my math folder with all my carefully- written notes, and everything I needed to ace that test. My panic increased with the fact that I didn’t even know where my bright blue folder was. It was probably in my math class, but I don’t know! It could be lying on some bench. And if I even knew where it was, how would I get it, if it’s in a classroom. I glanced at the clock and it blinked back a 4:00. If I wanted to go to school to get my folder, it would have to be now or never. The office was open until 4:30. I think. And how would I even get to school? My dad, also known as “ride to school”, was downstairs, but that meant I would have to tell him about forgetting the folder. Just another obstacle in my way.
“Ok, calm,” I thought to myself. I was gathering all my courage to go and talk to my dad. I already braced myself for the yelling, but I had no choice. I could hear the quiet buzz of his voice, humming a song I had never heard of. I thumped downstairs to find him sipping his tea and reading something on his laptop. His brown eyes, framed by his reading glasses, were darting from one end to another, but they never left the edges of the screen.
“Hey, Dad?” I said, my heart racing. Of course I was nervous to talk to him! He could either yell at me, or worse: the disappointment card. He ALWAYS did this one whenever he found out I got a bad grade or forgot to do my homework, which was often.
“Yeah, honey?” he said, absentmindedly, not lifting his eyes from the screen.
“I sorta.. well...I have no idea where my math folder is and I left it at school I think and I have a test tomorrow and I keep forgetting my stuff and I promise I’ll be better and can we just go get it?” I blurted out, sealing the deal that I was a mess. My mind appeared to be just as jumbled up as my words.
“Um… okay, Gigi, let me see what I caught from this. So, you forgot your math folder at school and need it for a test tomorrow?” he said, as he looked away from his laptop, stood up from the carpet, and began pacing the large living room. His face looked understanding, but I was pretty sure all signs of that would go away after this conversation.
“Uh, well, not exactly, um, well, sorta, yeah,” I blabbered. Ugh. That was not the way I expected that to be. All scenarios that could happen flashed in my head. And just saying, none of them ending with me not in tears.
“Ok, so what are you suggesting to fix this?”
“Um… we go to school and look for it?”
“And you know where it is?”
“Well, like, I kinda sorta know where it is,”
“Ok, I’ll take you, but just know…”
This was it. I took a sigh of relief, but it wasn’t over yet. I still had to listen what he was going to tell me.
“I have to admit, I am disappointed in you for forgetting the folder. I thought you were starting to change your ways, but I’m doubting that thought now,” he said, much more calmly than I thought he was going to say it. But still, the yelling was possible.
“I know, I know. I’m sorry. I was really trying to do my best to stop forgetting so many things,” I half-whispered, feeling so disappointed in myself I could barely speak properly. I didn't feel like I deserved any less than the disappointment card and the yelling, and I was actually upset when my dad didn't sound mad.
“I’m proud of you for that, but I’m proud of you for something else too. You actually did something about forgetting your math folder at school. The old you would have never even considered it. Thank you for trying and keep it up. Not the forgetting part of it, through,” he said. “Hop in the car, would you?”
My heart rate skyrocketed dramatically and plummeted back down almost immediately. I was so shocked that my dad didn’t make it a huge deal, and was infinitely grateful to have such an awesome dad.
We got to my school in 5 minutes. We lived very close to it, and there was no traffic. I jumped out of the car, slammed the door shut, and began to run in my black, fuzzy boots, the worst shoes to run in. My eyes were flashing to one object to another, searching for a folder. I wasn’t even sure where to start! I forced myself to take a deep breath. It has to be somewhere, right? And with all the adrenaline left in me, I paraded into the office and blurt out everything, oddly similar to how I told my dad. But less stuttering and “uhs”. The assistant principal, with the keys, led to me to my math class, since that was the most likely place my math folder would be in. I looked around the dark room, and the teacher’s seat was empty. I was so happy she wasn’t there. The taunting from her for the rest of the year would not be fun. Suddenly, I jumped out of my coma, and ran over to my desk. My hands searched all over and under the desk, when my memory kicked in. I had stuffed my math folder into my desk after I had pulled out last night’s homework to correct. I peered inside the desk and pulled out my math folder. I yelled a joyful “thank you” to the assistant principal, and I leaped out of the classroom and to my dad’s car. I had never been so happy to see a plastic folder. It might be only fifty cents, but it was worth a billion dollars to me.
My experience, although temporarily terrifying, overall taught me more about who I really am. I discovered my ability to think under pressure, and how much better it is to spend an extra minute or two to simply know what is coming up. And after all the work, I'm proud to say there was no red ink on my test, except for the big, uppercase “A” marking the corner.