Diary of a young boy
Can you imagine my blushes at the invitation to speak? I was astounded, crestfallen, bewitched and all would only partially describe my disposition. I stared into the gasping audience alarmed no less than I by whom my humiliation seemed so imminent that my vision swayed from left to right and into space. Time froze, and I suddenly felt too small for such grand prizes, and the prizes almost slipped out of my hand.
I narrowly prevented a mighty crash of glass and metal, as the principal moved to the centre of the stage assuming an authoritative position to calm the roaring audience. “A few words from the student,” and brought me to the microphone. I was not prepared for this. I had no idea what I was supposed to say. I wasn’t even sure where to start. Hence, my nerves getting the better of me.
Out of my blurred vision I could see heads and some faces and mostly haze. I thought of erupting volcanoes. Fancy being at the edge of an advancing cloud of dust in its commencement of slow expansion that you know beneath its apparently puffy mellow surface is rushing at you in every direction. The silence felt so chilling that a drape of cold air brushed past my face and my cheeks burned which seemed terribly ironic. Why I kept thinking of huge waves leaping at me, I do not recall.
I managed to grip the prizes into my hands and blabbered something like, “Thank you everyone.”
Blast, what a clumsy way to start a speech with an ending note. The audience looked blacked out, bemused at best, and so unnerving; I thought everyone even including me was disconcerted at my shocking start causing most possibly a visible imbalance in my countenance. I felt the whole stage tilted to one side causing me loss of balance. Once in a lifetime opportunity and I am just about to blow it in a casual way akin to careless losers. Get a grip on it I wanted to yell to myself. Instead I swallowed some air. So, I quickly added, “for your unrelenting support.”
Silence still gripped the whole ground. My mouth opened, and this came out, “a big thank you to the teachers for their guidance, and to the school faculties for just giving me a chance, finally making me worthy of these presents. The prize belongs to the school.”
Ok, strung few words together at last with some relief. The heat from my face began to fade, and I felt normal. Who else can I thank? The gatekeeper, for letting me into the school every day? The coach, for allowing me into the playground, or the bell ringer for finishing each period on time, the gardener, the stationery stall. I really ran out of options. Silence befell upon the onlookers with such immensity that I remained the only person with some voice. Everyone on the stage looked serious. The principle gave such a frown to the air. And ‘Peter,’ he had been saying “how very proud of me he is.” Now he can say the same when we are gently pushed off the stage, and I am already feeling slightly downgraded. What about thanking Peter? Surely it is in order. I brought some well justified balance into my voice and spoke thus, “and a special thank you to my guardian angles for giving me the courage and the strength to never fear a daunting chapter, never to be alarmed at a complex equation, and always be prepared to push the boundaries of research.”
That is much better. Now best to end with a nice finishing note and get off the stage holding my head high. Here it comes. “Thank you all once again. I love you all.”
That didn’t sound so bad after all. The crowd gave a full throttle to its roar, and clapped whole heartedly. I finally breathed and looked up to Peter. He was staring ahead with the best smile forward. I wanted to give him a high five.