the Composition
for Honours Class,
Howard University,

  Authors & Artists


Faces & Voices 4
Faces & Voices 5

"Could it be?"
Adanna Thomas
Trinidad & Tobago - Insurance/Actuarial Science

        She stood at the window looking down the sundrenched street, but seeing only the blue shirted bowlegged postman as he slowly made his way from house to house, the bulging post bag bouncing heavily on his hip. When he stopped at her gate her heart nearly skipped a beat…
        Mary had been living a pretty normal life for all of her twenty-nine years. Actually, she would say her life was rather boring and uneventful. Nothing spectacular had ever happened to her. She had no achievements to boast of, no family of her own to be proud of, nothing. She worked in a dead end job for a dead end company. Since she had flunked out of high school, she didn’t have much formal education and so couldn’t get a better job.
Education was not something that came easily to Mary. She found herself having to work for hours upon hours to understand the simplest thing. She was tired of hearing the same things over and over, “Persistence is key.” “Try and try again.” “Never give up.” There was a time when she would try to adhere to these sayings. She remembered being in a math class at the age of twelve, a class for slow learners of course, and spending three weeks working on a sum that the majority of her class had finished after the first week. She remembered being laughed at because she couldn’t read as fast or as well as her classmates even though she would spend hours practicing her reading at home. By the age of seven, Mary had grown accustomed to being laughed at by her classmates, her so called friends and sometimes even her parents. She could not count the amount of times she had been called stupid, an idiot, or dumb. Those words soon grew to mean absolutely nothing to her. She did not hear those words anymore, but she was sure people still thought of her in that way.
        The one thing that brought her joy was her drawings. She loved to draw. Whenever she was upset, she would put pencil to paper and just draw. Mary never showed anyone any of her pictures because she was afraid to hear what they would have to say. It can’t be anything good, she thought. It never is! She therefore kept all her drawings to herself. They were private, her only source of joy in the world. She however, thought back to that day, six months ago, when she had actually had the courage to share one of her pieces. She had seen a flyer advertising an art competition and on the spur of the moment, she went home, chose what she considered her best work yet, and sent it off to be judged. As soon as she dropped it in the mailbox however, she regretted doing it. Why am I even wasting my time? she wondered. I’m no artist. They won’t find my work any good. After continuously scolding herself for about a month for sending off her favorite drawing, which of course would not be returned, she put all thoughts of the contest out of her mind and went on with her mundane life.
        Seeing the postman stop at her gate however, somehow made her remember the contest. She knew that the flyer she had seen all those months ago had said that the winners would be notified in the mail and she vaguely remembered glimpsing an article in the newspapers that stated that the winners had been chosen. She had done such a good job of putting that episode behind her that when she saw that article in the newspapers she didn’t even realize that it was for the same contest. But somehow, it all came back to her when she saw that postman. It couldn’t have been a bill because she had already gotten all her bills for the month. Could my drawing have been chosen? she wondered. Could they have liked it? Am I actually good at something?
        The postman put two envelopes in her mailbox and went on his way. Mary quickly opened her door and tried to walk calmly down the path to her mailbox. She tried not to get too excited because she didn’t want to have to face yet another disappointment. When she got to the mailbox, she took out both envelopes, but her eyes were riveted on the one that said ‘National Art Institute.’
        Could it be….?

© 2002 Howard University
(First Published in limited print edition, An Anthology of Verse, Prose & Art, by the Composition for Honours Class, Howard University, Spring 2002. Professor E.R. Braithwaite)
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