The One Word That Changed My Life

1109 words - 4 pages

The shuddering sound of thunder raked across the windshield as the rain slapped the windows with the rat-tat-tat of a machine gun. On the side view mirror, the raindrops molded into a pattern like a stained glass window. I remember my stomach turning cartwheels in anticipation. My fingers kept knotting up like a telephone cord because I was busy fidgeting.

"How much longer?" Morgan asked in her usual incessant whine. You see, she is the Old Faithful of whiners. I can always tell when she's going to erupt.

"About ten minutes honey," came the reply from my mom.

I sat there in the car with my head hung like a condemned man awaiting his sentence. I leaned my head against the window, not daring to fall asleep. I had never been so nervous in my life! I sat there and let my mind wander like a curious kid in the Smithsonian Museum. I thought back five months.


As the fog cleared in my mind, there I was, five months before, sitting in some fancy school's cavernous gymnasium, in a tiny desk, doing some stupid test that I had been coaxed like a stubborn mule into taking. I saw myself turning each completed page, checking and rechecking, then turning in the small forest of paper, and leaving. Then the mist closed in and I was back.


Suddenly I came to the gut-wrenching realization that the car had stopped.


Everything stopped. For an instant everything, from the whisper of the wind to my sister's squawking, seemed to go mute. Well, everything except the cacophony of my beating heart.


My body went numb, and I felt like I was leaving my body and viewing myself open the car door. The very sound of my feet hitting the concrete seemed like a resonating boom that reverberates off some dark cave's walls.


"Today's the big day," my dad said. I snapped out of my little stupor and came back to what seemed like the Twilight Zone.


Everyone seemed excited like a hyper puppy. But as for me, I probably looked like a downcast football player that lost the big game ... due to his fumble.


"Well go ahead, Matt, go get the mail." My dad was almost as anxious as I was. "I'll bet the big letter is in there."


So that was it, I began my funeral march towards the little black box that either held a big letter full of info or a small letter very similar to the type that the Army sends out with the man in the black sedan that bears bad news.


I was suddenly aware that my hearing had become acute. The leaves moving in the breeze sounded like sandpaper gritting against sandpaper. My every breath sounded like the wind blowing over an open chasm.


A door slammed behind me. I jumped ten feet out of my skin. I suddenly came to my senses. "This is stupid," I told myself. "You're getting all worked up over some stupid letter."


I walked with a quicker pace towards my future that lay in between two...

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