It’s 6am on an important August day in 2010 and I’m sat at my desk staring at a screen. I’ve known my fate for over half an hour but I’m too scared that it’s too good to be true and that someone will send me another email going ‘JUST KIDDING’. It’s precisely because I don’t believe my luck that I’m sat in my bedroom with the curtains still drawn instead of rushing down to my mum and sharing the great news.
I got in. I’m going to university. But am I? Is it really me they meant to email? Had they gotten my name mixed up with those on the successful list? I should expect an email within the next hour to say that they were sorry and that they had made a huge mistake with the emails and that my place was, in fact, belonging to Melanie Thompson from somewhere down south, probably somewhere like Surrey because she knew more about the Incas than me and her dad was probably from Uruguay. I’m jealous of Melanie Thomson even though I just made her up. Even though, actually, I’d want to be her friend. I wonder if there will be lots of Melanie Thompsons that will study Latin American Studies. I shouldn’t think about it, I’ll never meet them because I haven’t got in. I’ll sit and wait for the email and then think about how to break it to my mum.
I sit and wait. There is no email after twenty minutes. I hear my mum moving around on the landing and every time she happens to shuffle past my door every muscle, every fibre in my body tightens in lurch of the dreaded “…well?”.
I wait another half an hour. I think she’s had enough of waiting. She knocks and squeezes her little head around the door. I look at her and I know that I have to say it out loud. No email arrived in the moment that she opened the door and stood waiting with wide diplomatic eyes. It’s me. They’ve chosen me. They actually want me and think I’m clever enough to do this. I don’t need a Bolivian uncle or a pet capybara. I worked so hard. I’m going to move to a big city and dedicate myself to my one true love: Latin America. I relax my mind, loosen my mouth, and I let the words slip out. I feel her heartbeat slow down from across the room. The floating dust specs in the air can be observed. Time and space slow, solidify, and grind to a halt.
“I’m going”, I say.
She springs back into real time and gives a great lurch towards the floor where I’m slumped and sighs:
“I’m so pleased! So pleased!”.