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I Hold My Breath

I hold my breath and click submit, managing to breathe again only when my score appears on the screen in front of me.

My eyes, watery and tired from extensive exposure to the computer screen, were barely able to focus well enough for me to review my test, but that was not important. I had managed to make the cut-off for the A and, more importantly, had just finished my last exam for the day. My expression of happiness was mirrored by only a few people in the room, although everyone seemed to share my feelings of relief at the day being over.

Taking four back-to-back tests was, for many of us, a first experience; and, for all of us, a grueling one. Amidst the background noise of people bemoaning their exams, planning to party that night, or both, my friends and I went through our normal post-exam decompression by yelling at each other, making fun of each other, and trying to figure out where everyone was since the bus was leaving soon. Moving with the hordes, we shouldered our way onto the bus and dropped into any available seat; soon, the bus was filled, and there was smelling-room only. And there were many smells for the nose to feast on – tired sweat interspersed with hints of anxiety, aggravation, and liberation. A veritable smorgasbord for the nostrils.

After the decently long and indecently bumpy ride home, we exited from the bus, pouring out like a human avalanche – I, in particular, headed for a night of food and naps. Before I could do this, I was subverted into relaxing with my friends and playing catch with a football. We quickly tired of this, however, and had the brilliant idea of playing catch with the lightest of my friends, who we proceeded to throw back and forth for an hour. We then sat around making fun of Paul Walker’s acting in The Fast and the Furious, since his almost complete inability to say a line of dialogue without sounding approximately as emotionally valid as a wooden puppet confused and fascinated us greatly. After the movie, we decided to go and get some dinner at a restaurant at the airport, after which we came home and napped on various pieces of furniture in the living room.

by Prakash Jayanthi, Class of 2014