Saturday, 9 March 2013

The troubled mind

Heyo mayo everybody-o!

I am in the midst of exams.

That should explain my absence and the inspiration behind this story. Enjoy. 

With my backpack slung on one shoulder and a ring folder in one hand, I was getting ready to leave the library when I saw James.

“Hey James!” I whispered as loudly as I could.

He waved and gestured for us to talk outside.

I nodded and smiled. I had been looking forward to talking to James. I just watched the YouTube video he shared with me last night and was eager to tell him what I thought of it.

He finally emerged and with not even a hello, or how are you, he said “How did you find the Chemistry paper?”

My smile ran away from my face. For a second, I felt the living daylights sucked out of me once again. I clenched my folder even tighter and released a soft sigh.

Chemistry. The Chemistry paper. That DARN CHEMISTRY PAPER.

“Um…..” I began. “It was…..”

“Unbelievably easy right?!  I can’t believe they’d set the standard SO LOW this year! I mean I expected it to be much worse, honestly!”

I smiled weakly.


“And it was so easy that even EMILY thought it was a piece of cake! I mean, that girl sleeps in class!”

“Um, James? I, uh, need to um, go. I’ll catch you some time this week?”

“You alright, Susan?”

“Yeah, yeah. It’s just that… I forgot I needed to do something”.

I said a hurried bye and headed the opposite direction of where James was heading. I didn’t know where I was going. I just wanted to be anywhere that was not beside James.


I can’t even think about Chemistry or look at my Chemistry lecturer without feeling my heart pump a little faster, shoulders hanging a little lower or my spirit feeling a little dampened.

It was bad.

It was so, so bad.

It’s not like I didn’t work for it. In fact, before the paper, I felt so ready. I did all the preparation I could. I stayed up late for many nights trying to memorise everything and I did. In fact, I spent so many nights studying that it felt like it was just last night I was downing Red Bull desperately trying to memorise just one more thing before I called it a night because it might just make the difference in grade. I really wanted to do well in it. I was desperate to, in fact, because Chemistry is my favourite subject. I worked so hard for it. I have pages and pages of practice exercise to prove it. Colour pens that I’ve exhausted to show my hours of labour. Mountains of notes to show how I took this seriously.

Suddenly, my phone rang. I snapped out of my day-dream and realised I didn’t know where I was because I was so lost in thought. James’ name flashed across the screen. I gulped and pressed the red button on my phone. Why, James. Why?!

When the exam came, I just…. I don’t know. I had forgotten things that I knew even before my first day in Chemistry class. For some reason, the hours just flew by so quickly and I was only halfway through my paper when the invigilator said that we only had 15 minutes left. After that, I experienced the worst 15 minutes of my life. After the exam, I just picked up my bag, avoided all eye contact and went home to  bawl my eyes out  watch TV . I was so sure I was going to fail and unless you've been in this situation before, you wouldn't know how infuriating and depressing the whole situation is. If only I could turn back time.

Speaking of time, it was only then I realised how dark it was getting. I then realised just how alien this place was to me. Where was I? James tried calling me again. I ignored it. I needed to find my bearings. The streets were so unfamiliar and I had no idea where I was. I wiped a tear on my face and made sure I boarded a bus that would bring me home.

It’s so unfair. I worked so hard for it. I know my Chemistry textbook inside and out. Ask James. Ask my lecturers. Ask my classmates. Ask the Paul the janitor or Emily the kind canteen lady. They’d tell you how dedicated I am to my work. I work harder than anyone else and now I’m the only one that found the paper hard? Sigh.  I just wish all that effort wasn't so wasted, ya know?

I eventually reached home. I took off my boots, removed my coat and dropped my bag on the floor. It was frustrating that all my effort didn’t show itself on its paper. I don’t know what went wrong. Why did I do so badly? Did I not pay enough attention in class? Am I not smart enough to call myself a Chemistry student? Did I not prepare hard enough to get through the questions quickly enough? Suddenly I wasn't sure why I thought I did badly for the exam. What ACTUALLY happened? All I felt was the familiar frustration build up in me again. Maybe my anger was blinding my memory. 

My phone rang. This was the third time James was calling me. My frustration rose again as I thought that I wouldn’t be in this emotional turmoil if James simply didn’t bring up the whole Chemistry paper. GAH! I threw my phone on the sofa. The ringing stopped immediately.

I sat myself down on the sofa. It was only then did I realise just how exhausted I was roaming aimlessly around town and wrestling with this emotional turmoil. I began to relax a little and eventually fell asleep.



I woke up from my sleep. It was James. For the first time I felt bad for ignoring his calls. Maybe I should answer his call now. But must be midnight now, so what business does he have calling me at this hour?


“Susan? Susan? Hello?”

I suddenly woke up. The sun was blinding and my neck was aching. It time? What happened? Where am I?



 “Susan, please get up! You have only 15 minutes left!”


I sat up straight immediately. Around me were rows and rows of tables. Everyone was frantically scribbling on their papers, papers were viciously flipped, there was a strange sense of silent tension around me. A bearded man at the front of the room was shaking his head at me. Mr Patrick James, my lecturer was beside me with a bewildered look on his face.

As I slowly came to my sense, I looked down on my table and saw in large, bold, capitalized letters:


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