She had prepared for hours, laboring in her room, stretching her mind to unimaginable places. And the only thing she had to show for it was this piece of paper. She didn't believe that such thought, such pains, could go into something so small. Is this really what her work amounted to? She had worked as if she was Ernest Hemingway or Charles Dickens. But the truth is, she was no Ernest Hemingway nor Charles Dickens. And as far as she was concerned she would never be anywhere near that level of fame, intelligence, or creativity. It's not that she didn't love this hobby. Why else would a high school student spend days on a stupid simple paper that her teacher had assigned her?
Her biggest problem was that she acted like she was good at it. It was hard not to when all she heard about was how excellent her writing was and how good at reading she was. What could they see that she could not? she always wondered. It was so plain and simple to her. Almost too plain and simple. She hated the way she wrote. She hated the way the words sounded together, hated the way that she couldn't say what she meant, never in speech nor in writing. And worse yet, her reading abilities were just as bad. Sure she would spend hours and hours with her nose stuffed into a book. But this reading endeavor was not so easy as it seemed on the outside. In her brain, she struggled over simple vocabulary words that everyone knew. No matter how many times she looked that word up in the dictionary, it never stuck. So much for learning through reading. She also zoned out in her reading all the time. Most people never noticed that she would spend three times as long on one page as normal kids would. But even if they did notice, they didn't seem to care. All they saw was her love, her love for words and stories and language, and they praised her too much for it.
Now they expected a page. A short, simple page. She was the best in class and as so was expected to write the best paper. But she knew she had failed. The order of the words did not make sense to her but she could not fix it, no matter how hard she tried. Each revision to the paper made an even more enormous mess. Did she have fun with this process? Of course. But one can only have so much fun failing constantly. How can a musician enjoy music when all they do is fail to produce good sound? But this was all she could do, all she could live with. Who would help correct an incompetent, unoriginal writer?
It was the day to turn in the paper. Her final document laid in her hand as a cold, unfeeling, unrewarding trophy. She laid it on her desk in front of her, wishing more than anything that the words there would shift around and morph into something they were not. She hated herself for what she had created.
When the teacher asked her to read her paper aloud as an example, her heart dropped. They were expecting better than what she was about to give. They were expecting Poe to fly out of her mouth, but all she could deliver was awkward sentences and stupid ideas.
When she was finished reading, the class stood still. She hadn't realized as she was talking that the whole room turned silent. All she had focused on was how much worse the words sounded when read aloud. She was embarrassed. She wanted to stop. She wanted to take back everything she had written and said. She wanted another day to work. When she put her paper down, the students started clapping, the teacher stared at her in awe, all this an effect of her grotesque work.
Were these people serious? she asked herself, refraining herself from tearing out her own hair. Will they ever understand how awful she is?