-Time is up! Submit your papers!
What?? I’ve barely started.
-Time. Is. Up.
I’m looking through my assignment. My paper is like a white sheet just after washing and only my name is written down in the corner.
-YOU SHOULD SUBMIT IT NOW.
I look around, trying to find support from the rest of the students in the classroom, but everyone is staring at me like I’m nonsense.
-You’re on a state exam! Submit your work or I’ll cancel it!
My hands are shaking, and I can’t say a word against it as if there’s stone in my throat.
-Are you stupid or something?
I’m looking through the classroom once again. It’s a zoo now. Students are going crazy, some of them are standing on the tables, others scratching their faces. And everyone is yelling at me.
I want to scream from the top of my lungs, try to take a deep breath and … I wake up. It was just a terrible nightmare. Tears run wild down my cheeks; my body is shaking as if I had a cold. It’s 6 a.m., which means I could’ve slept peacefully for several more hours but I’m too nervous. Today is my first state exam and that’s why the world became my gas chamber this morning. My family, my tutors – everyone relies on me as if I’m the Tower of Pisa. The whole year I’ve been preparing for this first battle’s day, but I don’t feel like a potential winner, on the contrary, I feel like a criminal on the day of execution. Fear spills over my body and the cat is the best sedative for me in such situations, so I’m on my way to catch it and boost my serotonin level. What’s the point of taking medicine when you literally have a wool antidepressant in your house? Anyway, I’m not Leo Tolstoy to describe my day in many details, so let’s move to a couple of hours later. I’m standing in the living room fully dressed like I’m going on a parade: white blouse and a nice skirt, this one is my favourite because it has hidden pockets, where I put my word stress cheat sheet – the only thing I haven’t been able to learn this year. My mom is having a videocall with my granny, who is reading prayers for me like I’m going on a crusade, not an exam in Russian. At the same time, my dad is a calm monument, he believes in my success silently. Finally, I leave my house and go straight to the execution. Some of my classmates have already reached the school. When I enter the hall the first association is asylum: everyone is anxious – some of the students are trying to catch the last ride and learn at least something, some are just shacking and panicking, others joking silly about not passing the exam. I don’t want to communicate with anyone right know, so I just occupy the corner of the hall and take the position of spectator in the colosseum. Time is passing slowly; I feel like a beetle stuck in resin. Finally, our headmaster appears with the speech, she’s telling us that we’re the hope of the school and that she believes in us. She looks like a politician at a rally, but unlike them, she doesn’t know how to lie persuasively, so every single soul in the hall notices falsity in her speech. Long story short, my class and I arrive at the exam location, more like courthouse. The registration goes as ordinary as any other day. Finally, I’m in the class, waiting for the tutor to give us an assignment. However, she starts from the speech, which was prepared to comfort us, but the eyes of the tutor are ice as she is looking at our class. time is passing slowly again and while our assignments are being printed, I think about my school life, the images of these 11 years are changing in my mind like pages in a photo album. Seems like I just graduated from primary school, but now I’m sitting on the most important school exam. The fact that time is slipping through my fingers terrifies more than any nightmare. Speaking of nightmares, it’s time to begin the exam. First, I look through all the papers, skim the tasks. Most of them are a piece of cake for me, but some are as challenging as having lunch in a school cafeteria during the 20-minute break. However, the task with word stresses is quite debatable, I choose one option, but I want to check myself, so it’s time to go to the bathroom and use my cheat sheets. Like a 007 agent I take them out of my pocket carefully, having to act quickly, I catch a glimpse on the paper like I have a crush on it. I’m shaking again, but I don’t have time, so I have to return to the classroom quicky and change my answer. The rest of the exam is as smooth as Michael Jackson’s criminal. Unlike my nightmare, I submit my papers on time and leave the school in a nice mood. On the way home, I catch up with the tribe of my classmates and start discussing our assignments with them. As usual, the topic of word stresses is a hot potato, so we’re arguing like on a political debate. Everyone says that my answer is incorrect, so I show them my cheat paper as proof. But it only proves me wrong. It seems that I looked at it so quickly, that I mixed the words up and, as a result, changed the right option in the test to the wrong one. The failure of the year: have a joker in your sleeve and use it against yourself. I blame myself so much and it feels like I betrayed everyone like Judas. With that mood I return home, being ready to upset my mom and dad. Luckily, my parents want to cheer me up and ask me to go out to the mall with them. Shopping is the best therapy, so I forget about my failure as soon as I see the candy shop. I get as many sweets as if I haven’t eaten for a year. And right after the payment I lash out at candies like a Mowgli, who has never eaten human food. My mood thermometer shows some happiness, so it’s time to continue our shopping mall adventure and buy a couple of outfits for this summer. I really enjoy spending time with my parents that way, we’re real chatterboxes, so we’re constantly talking with each other, joking, and gossiping. Late evening creeps up like a cat and it’s time to go back home to my exam routine. Sitting in the car, I listen to my favourite song and think about that day and life in general. It’s just like a roller-coaster: in the morning I was a criminal before the execution, during the exam my inner 007 agent woke up and now I’m just a teenager, who enjoys simple things like sweets and new clothes. The adult life will strike like lightning very soon, but for now I can relax and catch the last moments of my childhood. We reach our home, but I don’t know about it as I’ve already fallen into Morpheus’ arms.