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Footprints

I shift uncomfortably in the metal chair beneath me. The cold iron burns into my skin seemingly attempting to mold me into the chair. I silently stretch myself and gaze to my right at the clock hanging on the lonely white wall beside me.

A quarter to 12, the clock reads.

I gaze longingly at the clock once more, begging it to move faster. Instead, it slows down, as if mocking me. Each movement of the slim second hand of the clock seems to take an eternity. I lift my gaze from the clock. It seems he will not cooperate with me. So I decide to change the scenery a bit, and survey the classroom that surrounds me. Each student, seated in their own metal prison of a chair is immersed in his or her own “work”. Whether writing song lyrics on their binder (a habit I fall into much too often), “secretly” texting under their desks, or simply staring emptily out the window at the golden sunlight beckoning us out. Their eyes are glazed over, dull and lifeless. This is what math class does to us.

Then I look ahead at the girl sitting in front of me. Fiona is her name. Her long blonde hair falls weightlessly down her shoulders. It tumbles in golden swirls down her back and lightly grazes against the edge of my desk. She bends her head down, obviously entranced and focused intensely in something on her desk. I peer over her shoulder, curious of what may be so mesmerizing that Fiona (who is usually among the star students in math class) would allow herself to be distracted by. I strain my neck, and see that in her hands she is holding a linen colored folder with beautifully crafted calligraphy writing scribed in a winding pattern along the edges of the folder. The words start at the very bottom edge of her folder, and wraps themselves around, twining their way up to the very top edge, where they are met by a delicately hand drawn moon.

I squint my eyes, unaware that I am now straining my whole body forward in an attempt to read the intricate writing on her folder. “Don’t say the sky…,” the quote begins. Then the words veer off to the right. My eyes follow the words on a winding journey as they continue onto the other side of her folder. I strain myself even further, and continue reading. “…is the limit when there…,” Finally the words spiral back into their original position, as the journey reaches its end. “…are foot prints on the moon.”

“Don’t say the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”


I stare in awe at that simple quote as the clock, who wouldn’t cooperate with me, seems to tick by. Each tick grows slower and slower. But this time, I don’t mind. The quote echoes inside my head, taking its fair time to sink in. Finally, it does and I begin to realize how brilliant it is that such simple words can play such a profound role in making my day. There are times, in everyone’s life, or so we would hope, when words and words alone can bring out the best and at times the worst of a person. Ever wonder how reading a simple book can bring you to tears? How a writer can turn words into daggers, and then twist the blade in your heart? Or in this case, how a writer can turn words into light—light at the end of the tunnel. Light at the end of my tunnel. This quote inspires me to this day. It fuels my dreams. It reminds me, in my depressions, that life is limitless. And yet, as I look again at this quote, I still cannot figure out how, and why, we let ourselves be manipulated by such a simple play on words.

Suddenly as I delve deeper into my thoughts, the bell rings and pulls me up for air. I emerge from my thoughts and begin to gather my books. Fiona rises in front of me and begins to gather hers. She takes her linen colored folder in her hands, and is about to leave class when I stop her.

“Fiona,” I ask her. “Can I take a look at that folder?”



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EtherealLibretto said...
Feb. 12, 2013 at 10:04 am:
I remember the first time I saw that quote on the back of my friends juicebox. I had much the same reaction, sitting back in my chair and marveling at the power of such simple words. Fantastic job turning the experience into an amazing story!
 
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