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Photo: Taelar Pollmann · The Sentry

Greatest Achievement

find myself standing at the same double doors with a plaque just above and an inscription that reads “agatha cement restive.” And while I pay no mind to the indecipherable words, upon entering the corridor, the  floors light up, revealing framed photos that adorn the walls.

Directly to my right, I see a girl beaming from cheek to cheek as silver medals decorate her neck. Below the photo it’s titled, “Third Grade.” And as I make my way through the hall, I see a certificate with the words “Gold Honor Roll” on it. Seventh Grade. Local newspaper clippings of a winning Mock Trial Team. 10th Grade. Colored cords, diplomas, and a cap to commemorate a graduation. 12th grade. More newspaper clippings…different this time. Freshman Year. A transparent award with my name on it. Sophomore Year. And when I turn the corner at the end of the hall, I see a mirror and then myself. Now with a cap and gown. And the placard next to it reads “20. Graduated.”

I can’t make out what it all means and when I try to understand, the room suddenly goes black. Behind me, two podiums appear and take center stage of the hall, basking under a spotlight. Housed on top of the podiums are a small clock with a label that says, “right place, right time,” and gold coins that say “lucky.” And the photos are gone. The room mocks you, I think to myself, and I’m scared because I can’t tell what’s real and what’s true.

I’m spinning? No, the room is spinning, and it’s hard to comprehend what’s around me. Images blur, colors collide, dizziness fills my head, bile creeps up my throat, and I start to feel sick. Voices start to fill the air and I get choked up. I don’t deserve any of this. Flashes of the girl before, the room before, pop in and out of my head and I wish I had appreciated them just a little bit more.

Illustration: April Kinney • The Sentry

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