Solace

Finalist in the 'Write As Rain 2014' competition

In the silence of the classroom, students sat, scribbling away with their pens of the sheets of paper. Among those students, was an average boy. He was the same as everyone else; going through the tough process of growing up and fulfilling the expectations of being a good student.
In the corner he sat, quiet as a mouse, as it was a test. One peep and he'd receive a zero. With his mouth shut, he wrote the answers in full sentences and always double-checked. The process was the same for each question.
Eventually, the time dwindled to just a handful of minutes; enough to answer the final question and review his answers. His eyes flickered over the words that laid in front of him, broken up into simple ideas within his mind. For some reason, however, this last question had him hanging. The question simply did not click. It didn’t work this way or that, yet he could hear others flipping their pages and dropping their pens.
An uneasy feeling swept over him, as he realised that he would not be able to find the solution in the next few minutes. His breath grew ragged and his grip on the pen became stiff, his knuckles a pale white. The young boy racked his head for the answer, even resorting to thinking of loosely-related words in hope of miraculously stumbling upon it.
By the time the teacher had exclaimed “Two minutes”, only two feeble sentences had been written down hastily. The student wringed his pen with his fingers uselessly in his frustration. His digits burned with a mild pain; a distraction from the chaotic mess in his mind. If he could find the one word escaping his grasp, he could finish the whole paragraph within mere seconds.
Ahead of him, he could hear one of his fellow students whispering to her friend, eluding the teacher’s hearing. Though he had more important things to be focusing on, the boy couldn’t help but feel desperate enough to hope that they slipped something relevant.
Then, he heard it. That was it. It was like a choir of merciful angels had spoken the very word he had been searching for frantically. The sound of it made his body ripple with relief, though his hand was working at an incredible pace to finally end the torment. A tear pooled at the bottom of his eyes, blurring his handwriting.
When the last period was put in, the boy fell back into his seat, a small smile on his face. Loudly, the teacher called out the end of the test seconds later.
Happily, he pushed the test paper forward. After being suffocated by the fog of frustration, he had finally been enlightened with sweet release. He discreetly wiped away the tear with his hand and laughed to himself as the last bell rang. The uttered word was unrelated, yet his hope and unique wit brought him the taste of victory.

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