English was the only subject in high school that I was really good at. I was so good at it that I decided I didn’t need to show up for half the classes. The teachers, evidently, thought otherwise.
I remember back to my 10th grade English class and one in-class assignment we had that I was actually quite nervous about until it happened. Our teacher explained to us the week before that on the following Monday, we would have an ad-lib project in class. She would write out random subjects on slips of paper and throw them in a hat. When it was our turn, we would blindly choose a piece of paper from the hat and we had to talk about the subject for two minutes.
My first thought was, “TWO MINUTES?? That will take forever! I can’t talk about something I haven’t prepared for in front of the class, let alone for two whole minutes!”
I was a nervous wreck. I tried to imagine everything that we had talked about recently in class in hopes of preparing a little bit, but then I remembered that I hadn’t gone to class for a week and a half so I was pretty much fucked. I obsessed over it all weekend until Monday finally came around.
When it was my turn, I began to shake as I made my way to the teachers desk where she held the hat up high so I couldn’t see the random papers with subjects on them. My palms were sweaty as I reached into the hat. I fumbled around for a few seconds as other papers were sticking to my fingers because I had just eaten a sticky cinnamon bun. Finally, I could feel only one paper between my fingers and I slowly pulled it out and looked at it.
Horses?? You’ve got to be kidding me. I lived on a farm for the first few years of my life. I had prepared for this my entire life.
My body instantly stopped shaking and a knowing smile played across my lips as I held up the slip of paper for the teacher to see.
“Ok, this speech will be about horses,” she announced gleefully as I went over in my mind where I should start. I had so many stories to tell!
I told the class about the time my dad bought a horse and it tried to kill him and my grampa by rolling over. I went on to talk about how my cousin and I used to spend summers riding our horses down to the chokecherry patch. And I told them about my favourite horse, Patches, who I adored because she was so beautiful and always treated me well. And I continued by saying that I got good at drawing horses when I was little because I was obsessed with them. But I wasn’t as obsessed as my cousin…
“Time’s up!” the teacher announced.
With a look of shock on my face, I turned to face her, and I’ll never forget the laughter from the class when I said to her, “but I’m not done yet!”