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For Mason, a Chinese test feels like an odyssey

It is time for the Chinese test to begin. I pick up my pencil, and focusedness is on my face as I write. Intensity stretches across the room with each moment. It is silent—so silent that I can hear the birds chirping . . . until . . . Oh, no! I forgot one of my words! I think to myself, I can’t fail after all this practice. 

I think harder than I ever have. Even the loudest sounds can’t distract me. Finally, I think of it!

Calmness rises over the stress and intenseness as I calmly write each word. I finish the first page, then the second. Excitement rises in my stomach.

“I’m almost finished,” I say to myself.

The third page is the hardest. I close my eyes as I let the nervousness flow out of my mouth, and I suck the courage in. I open my eyes and start writing again. Third and last page is complete! No—wait. Still one question . . . Excitement fades away.

It’s the longest of all—write a Chinese paragraph. Each finished word disappears out of my mind, and each word ahead appears. It’s like a bridge forming ahead and pieces falling behind. As I take steps on the developing bridge in my head, the bank comes closer with each step I take. Excitement rises higher and higher in my stomach. Light closes upon me: I’m finished at last!

Mason Li
Mason Li, 8
Berwyn, PA