Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Won?

They have passed out third place. They have passed out second place. All that is left is first. And my name has not yet been called.

I want it. I want to believe that God has saved first place for me, for this manuscript. For there is something special about this story, something deeper in it—something magical, if I dare call it that—that exceeds all my other manuscripts.

But there are other writers waiting too. Good writers, who probably deserve this spot more.

I will win. How can I win? Hope and despair war within me.

Then a name is called. My name? I couldn’t have heard right. Please, God. Let it be true; I really want to have won. Please, God. Let it not be true; I hate giving public speeches.

But I can hear Sharon’s delight behind me, the click of the camera I lent to my dad on the slim chance that I won. And when I peek out, Mom is beaming at me. I won?

I shouldn’t have drunk so much water after supper.

Then I am on my feet, speech clutched in hand. The jumble of words I scribbled on a hotel pad of paper during my free-time on Friday. My small attempt to prepare my field for rain.

Brandilyn Collins hands me my plaque and pulls me into a hug. I hug back tightly. I won? I can’t believe I won. Is this real? Someone pinch me quick.

Oh dear... I face the bright lights, the dark clusters people looking at me. Waiting. For my speech. Why didn’t someone pinch me? I didn’t have to reach this part of the dream.

But they’re still waiting. I attempt a smile. Squint at my words. Try to breathe. I focus on my table with Sharon and Nancy and Jonathan and my parents. Friends. I spit out the words. Hope they make sense. Hope they don’t sound like the rambling of an idiot.

Then I’m done. I escape off stage, clutching the plaque. It feels solid enough, but I’m sure it will melt away or self-destruct in five seconds or something like that.

The rest of the evening is a blur. A series of images and impression smear together by dazed euphoria. Friends. Mentors. Teachers. Family. Congratulations. Thank you. Hug. Smile for the camera!

Now the quiet of my hotel room wraps around me. My family has left. My roommates are in bed. I stroke the shiny, black surfaces of the plaque, trace my gold-lettered name.

I won? I won.

Thank you, Lord.

No comments: