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A Night, a Math Test, a Struggle, a Dream

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It is like the bun of a hamburger; it’s a finishing touch. It’s gentle, like the ripples that shoot through a lake with the stroke of an oar and so, it hits you like a surprise, every single day. You’d think you’d see it coming but one moment it’s absent and the next moment, it’s there. Stretch your arm out. At that moment, it’s entirely possible to experience it at its fullest potential. Its wind will hug your hand; its swiftness will run chills down your back. It may be dark, but it’s very much alive. If you look really hard, figures come alive in its distance. Those stars, they twinkle, dance even. They are like celebrities; you will never know how great they are up-close but you admire their brilliance from afar. It’s easy to see the new world of opportunity it provides. A new path is suddenly paved—the matinee is over but the date is just about to begin. Did you know, it waits outside your window as dinner broils on the stove? It longs to watch over a daily ritual of your family holding hands, solemnly reciting, “Bless us, Oh Lord, and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.” If you listen closely, you might even hear it moan. It is night.

I’m sitting in the presence of a night, on my smoothly paved, ice-cold driveway. It’s a summer hobby of mine actually, talking to myself in the dark. It sounds crazy, I know, but simultaneously, I know I’ve found a lot of who I am through those conversations. But now, it’s autumn; fallen leaves are sprinkled on my driveway. I can hear them cackle over inside jokes when the breeze picks up.
It’s 7:32 P.M. and I have a math test tomorrow. I don’t understand why I get nervous just thinking about it. I don’t understand why I got an 88 on my first test while all my friends could talk about were those beautiful three numbers that dotted the top of theirs: a one, followed by not one, but two, zeros. I guess I don’t understand a lot of things but at least the night lets me realize there’s a world of possibility out there. Deep down, I know one bad grade isn’t going to make or break me but I’m thankful that the night is here to comfort me. It even makes me feel like one day, maybe even soon, I too, can see that 100 stamped on my paper.

What I love about the night is how much it makes me think about the world in an infinite number of ways. I live off of a main road so I hear tens of cars rush by me every few minutes. In the night, it’s especially pleasing to the ear because something about the unknown mood of the night makes me marvel at how diverse the lives people around me live, really are. I always wonder how many people pass me in their cars, while I’m in my house. How many of those people do I know? How many life stories have I not yet heard? How many of those people struggle with the same things I do?

I like to think that every day, at least one person who drives by, too, struggles with math. Or maybe English. Or maybe something entirely different. But at the very least, something is bothering that person. Not that struggling with something is a good thing, but life is full of setbacks and I’ve heard the saying that because life is full of setbacks, “Success is measured by how well you deal with them.”

So here’s to that person, if he or she even exists – life always has its ups and downs so there’s no reason to quit or give up. Stand up: outside, in the night. Cry if you must, but leave the tears behind. The night is dark and stretches farther out than you can ever imagine, for a reason; it wants you to move on, past your mistakes, past any blocks in the road and strive for what will make you happy. If you can dream it, you can achieve it.



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