I awoke this morning to an envelope hitting my face. Mom’s voice punctuated my rather realistic dream by saying, “It’s afternoon now, so you can get up.”
My eyes fluttered uncontrollably as I made the transition from sleep to wakefulness, the scene before me alternating between an empty pool surrounded by shady oaks and puzzled hospital workers to my mom’s form standing beside my bed (or what I could see of her from behind the envelope covering half my face). I grasped frantically at the paper resting on my head and struggled to sit up, as if that action would aid my emergence from slumber. I stared at the object clenched clumsily in my fist. It was one of those envelopes that you have to fold and tear along the edge to open. The return address read “University of Mobile.” I knew immediately what was inside. This envelope held my last semester’s grades.
My hands shook, either out of anticipation or uncoordination as I creased the edge of the paperalong the dotted line, first one way, then the other. Then my fingers came together over one corner, pulling a strip of paper off. It took me several tries to free the sheet guarded by the envelope, but I finally managed to get a hold of it and pull it out a bit. I paused as I read the course titles that had become so familiar to me over the last few months. Pulling it out a little further, I read how many hours each had credit, and something meaningless about honor points. Then came the important part. I pulled the paper the rest of the way out to find one, two,three, four, five…six A’s, all in a row. I looked back at the course titles. Yes, even chemistry had an A after it.
I looked up at Mom who had stopped her impatient pacing and was now sitting at the foot of my bed, searching my face for a tale-telling reaction. Instead of giving her one, I handed her the envelope with the grade sheet inside, but she refused to look at it. “Are you happy?” she inquired. I looked her in the eye, but then unable to lock my face, I pulled the my sheetover my head and grinned uncontrollably underneath.
“All A’s,” I heard her smile. I emerged out from under the covers. “I’m proud of you,” she said, and I smiled openly.
Chemistry was a battle I had almost given up. But I stuck through it and worked very hard. And all I have to show for it is a bit of carbon on paper, another A, lost among the rest.