Robin Andrews is not new to winning. She has been taking part in and winnning contests since she could tie her shoelaces. (4 years old)Now seventeen years old, nothing has changed. But is this a g...
"In second place, from Smokeview High, is-"the announcer, Mrs. Perkins, was just about to exclaim the second place winner of the John Token's Literary Award, a prestigious writing award given to the student whom gave the most valuable contribution to literature in any given year. Of course, it only recognized students in Smokeview County, seeing as that was where John Token had spent his life. He was now, of course, dead. The award was named after him simply because he himself had given a very large contribution to literature-the biggest you can give, in fact, a library. Smoke Hollow City Council had decided to start giving it out a few years after John Token had died. The award was now given out each year to the student (ages 14-18) who had best written a short story by using the contest theme. This year it had been the sentence, "Don't look around you, just look straight ahead."
I had written a story about a girl who has seen horrors in her life, alcoholism, rape, and drug abuse. She is disturbed by this, and stops living in the present, instead she lives in the future, depending on it to be better than what the present was like. However, in her mind's eye it didn't get any better, and she went crazy, subjecting herself to the horrors that kept her from living in the present, and ended up being exactly what she hated about the world. It was quite thrilling.
Especially now that I was standing here, in front of the entire school, about to receive first place, out of everybody (Fifty-seven people) that had entered the contest.
Of course, I had no idea whether or not I was going to receive first place or not, but I had a feeling this year was my year. The only other girl up for first was Lauren Simmons, who had written a story about a girl who can't look around her, but actually has to turn her head in order for her to see around her, due to lack of peripheral vision, so she can really only look straight ahead. Frankly, I was surprised she had even made it this far with such an un-metaphorical view of the theme.
I sort of felt sorry for her, this being her first year of entering. She wasn't familiar with me, and therefore unprepared. I had entered every year since I was fourteen, and each year I had at least made top three. I had never gotten first, but was dieing to.
You see, I am very competitive. I live for that adrenaline, that rush of ecstasy that comes with winning. Ever since I had been in kindergarten, I had been yearning to prove myself, starting small, with things like coloring contests. Gradually things got bigger, Academic team, Forensics, poetry contests, sports, Student Council, you name it, I was on the team and I was great.
My parents were, if anything, proud. I don't think they expected to have someone as ambitious as their daughter, but I was always surprising people. In high school, my dad had been great, starring in school productions, quarterback on the football team, class president, I could go on forever, the whole enchilada. Nowadays his days were filled with work, and his family. I had never been pressured or forced to do any of the extracurricular activities and contests, it had been my choice. I didn't always particularly like doing them either, it just seemed vital to my happiness. My dad and I are very close, and so I just feel like I have something to live up to.
There had been many talks, when my parents seemed to think that everything was beginning to become a bit too much, or I was just about to crack from the stress of having to write two papers, finish a project, study for a test and practice my part in the school's production of Oliver! My parents had just made it clear that I didn't have to do this, if I didn't want to, and they would still be happy. They didn't want me to do anything that I didn't like, or wasn't getting anything out of. And I nodded and smiled through these talks, knowing that I wasn't going to drop anything, no matter how much I didn't like it.
Why? Because then I wouldn't be good enough for them, especially my dad. I had no precise evidence of this, but I could see the signs. The look on his face when I received first place in something (a pretty rare occurrence) compared to the look on his face when I received second place in something. There was something in his eyes, a glimmer of disappointment even, when I didn't win overall. If I was letting him know how I had done on the phone, his voice would only feign happiness, for my sake. It seemed like he was sad, because he knew had he been given the chance, he could've done a better job. I yearned to be good enough, to get a look of genuine happiness on my dad's face.
But I didn't let this get in my way, if anything it made me work harder. When I saw this look, I shut down completely and worked ten times harder at whatever it was I had done wrong. I hated it when people were disappointed in me.
The last time I had seen this look, it was at an Academic Bowl last Saturday. I had been there so I could take a math test, which would be graded, and then awards would be given out, sixth through first, to those that had scored high enough. I only made it to third. And while my mom couldn't have been happier, I could see the subtle disappointment all over my dad's face. No one else could really tell, though. Oh well, my dad was a great actor, he could pretend he was happy easily. He just couldn't convince me.
This was why nothing made me happier than the days when I did win first. It didn't matter what I won first for, whether it be a handwriting contest or the state Academic Championships, I always felt the same. That surge of joy, when they announced your name, the adrenaline rush that always came with winning, the few seconds that wiped out everything around you. It was just me, my win, and my dad. Nothing was more satisfying than proving myself to my dad.
Unfortunately, my family was the only people I could really share my happiness with. The truth is I don't have a lot of friends. Sure, I hang out with people at school, whether it was the academic team members, or Student councilors, so I wasn't a "loner" or anything. As soon as I got home though, I was. The only time I ever had anyone over was for a project or homework or something related to school, but never to just, hang out. I think I intimidated people too much to let them get close to me.
I used to have friends. It sounds sad, but it's the truth. Back in middle school, Margot Simpson had been my constant companion. However, at some point in eighth grade, we just stopped hanging out. We stopped calling each other, just stopped talking. This was about the time when I got into hyper-competitive mode, and shut everyone out. I was really upset when Margot and I stopped being friends. But after she ditched me, I started winning. I had nothing else to do, than work hard at whatever it was I wanted to win in. Winning was my defense mechanism, when the world wasn't being nice, I reminded myself how good I really was by winning the track race or getting the highest GPA in my class. It was my shell, and I had been living comfortably beneath it for a long time. It kept me safe.
So here I am now, waiting to find out who won second place. Sorry Lauren. Better try again next year.
"And second place for the John Token Literary Award goes to-"Come on, come on, this is your year Robin, you get first! "Miss Luciana Robin Andrews."
Second? Seriously, peripheral vision literal 14 year-old Simpson got first? Oh. My. God.
I smiled, so I wouldn't look like such an ass. Here I was, expecting to win everything overall, nothing but recognition and I place second. Second? God, what did I do?
I walked forward, shook Mrs. Perkins hand, and took my Second Place trophy. Walking down the steps off the stage where awards were being held, I could only think of what my dad would say. Of course, I already knew he'd congratulate me and act all happy, but his body language would show through. It always did.
As I walked down the aisle of Smoke Hollow High School's auditorium, various people gave me a high five, or a thumb's up, or just a congratulations. I was heading toward the back towards the student councilors where they had saved me a seat.
"Great job!" Emily, the person nearest me told me. I nodded my thanks and sat back in my seat, I could already feel my cheeks burning with shame. Of course, in the midst of this, Lauren Simpson had received her first place trophy and seated herself, but I was blind to this. Another partial loss for Luciana Robin Andrews. Sigh.
A/N: Hope you liked it! This is my first story i have written by myself and i am enjoying it! Please review! any kind of critiscism is welcomed!