As we begin crowding around the doors, I can’t help but noticing that we look like cows, going in to be slaughtered.

I confide my fears to Anna, but she just shrugs them off, not realising that I’m being serious. I feel like a cow. I know they’re going to knock in my head, but I can’t help but going in anyway when they open up the doors.

“Line up,” the two woman in front say, making parallel queues for us to stand in. With a sense of dread, I step up front and hand her the things I need to sign in.

“Room 227,” she says with a smile. I do not respond in kind; I cannot.

I head up the monolithic stairs, listening to the great chatter around me, completely isolated from it all. While they laugh, I am alone in fear.

I am in the room. There another woman checks my things and I commanded–not told, but commanded, like a filthy pig–to go find the desk with the name on it.

Dejected, I do what I am told. After searching for what seems like ages, in the back corner of the room I find the desk labeled: SHELBY. I sit down and wait for the blow to the head.

It begins with English. I suddenly realise, “Hey! This won’t that bad after all!” So I breeze through it like butter on bread, and take deep breaths until she calls “TIME!”

Then comes Maths.

I am a pit of despair, incapable of feeling naught but overwhelming dread. I work quickly just to fill in the blanks and put the booklet down just five minutes back before she calls Time for the second time.

Next we take a break, and I am amongst the cows once more.


Back in the room, there is now the challenge of Reading. I do a lot better than I did before, but not enough so that my anxiety is stabbed in the heart as it so rightly deserves to be.

The science is uneventful. It is hard, but not like the maths. Frankly, I am just happy to be over with it.

But these things have a funny way of working out, and so there is now a fifth section in the ACT.

Reading again. I can do this!

And I’m pretty sure I did, but not without first sacrificing a large portion of my soul in the other sections.


My narrative of the ACT experience.

It did end happily, however. Afterwards, Mary Catherine (my friend is who a girl and who is also dating my next door neighbour) came to pick me, and we went and met my sister and some of her friends at a Mexican restaurant and had a nice, filling lunch.

Then we went to Walmart and goofed off.

Now we’re (me and sister) at home, and I’m being antisocial in my room while my sis is swimming downstairs. At least, I think she is…

I could go for some ice cream.

~~La Stranezza

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