Image. You’re sitting at your desk. Moonlight streams in through your windows. Radiant beams dance on your walls. It’s surreal, everything is static, silent, disconnected from reality. It’s a bit overwhelming. You get up, and get out. Out of a room full of silent thoughts, innate feelings, compressed truths. Out of your own head. But your thoughts still linger, they hang about just above you, mounting on tightly, screwing in to your brain. The human experience, slightly just out of reach, maybe percieved in disbelief.
EXT. BREAK OF DAWN - SOMEWHERE FAR FROM HOME
Taxis gathering from all over town, small time reporters hurrying to enter into a room of horrors or opportunities, a choice they’d determine later on. It was a chance, for some, to prove themselves. Yet there was one.
She had just arrived, 35 minutes late, bereaved by the traffic lights, stressed by a boss who overworked her, camera in hand. Stumbling, nervous, slightly afraid of what’s coming next. She had a loose ponytail, a sweetheart boyfriend and a heavy bag with her. Heart might have been racing but I couldn’t know, I’m merely retelling a story. She took small steps, echoed by uneven heels, pacing rapidly towards the opening ceremony (as if it were a grand event, like those you’d see in movies). Greetings were exchanged with familiar faces, pleasantries and whatnot. She could feel her collar’s grip, aching because of the insurmountable pressure to preform.
And yet, less than a hundred meters away, dozens of our players felt the same way. Our girls were to open this tournament with a spectacular performance, which was to lead us to victory once again. Lets take another example. A girl, different from ‘she’, the first of many. Living through the same universal experience. An extension of the human experience. Pressure.
Her hands were sweaty, trembling from anger provoked by the rival teams. She was eccentric and bold, matured, with raven eyes and experienced in contact sports. Volleyball was her default, her easy-go-back. The first serve synchronized with the referee’s whistle, and a vicious match began. This tournament, the vigorous fight to keep the ball off the ground, wasn’t about a trophy. It was about releasing tension, team work, ego. This was about pride. Individual pride, a school’s reputation, a large crowd analyzing every movement as though they could have played better. Pressure.
Back to ‘she’. Almost alone in the stands yet not quite. An amatour journalist and a fan of the dramatic. Matches were postponed, some came earlier, she had to record them all. Our girls had made it through to the next level, managing their way through the disqualified teams. The days had passed by and she barely noticed. It was time for one final charade, an exchange of fate, if you will. I won’t lie, I wasn’t there. I’m just a narrator, giving a voice to a story. What I do know is that they never gave up. They fought like crazy, burning through the heat and sand to bring home a well deserved trophy. And it’s not easy to burn through pressure.
The day ended, the games were over, and everyone reverted back to their cliques, interscholar or not. We were crowned last, because as you know, they always save the best for last. And in less than 48 hours, the prize was to be displayed in the gallery of the International School of Bucharest, a place we at ISBTV hold close to our hearts.
So now that the end has come, she, with the loose pony tail and the sweetheart boyfriend, as well as her, the one with raven eyes, return home to their rooms. And all of those silent thoughts, innate feelings and compressed truths became simple to understand. They were still there, don’t get me wrong. But this time they co-existed in peace rather than in conflict. A victory was invigorating, but the reliance on a team, knowing that you aren’t alone, made it easier to bare that room. So they settle down and go to sleep. The next day they repeat. It’s all part of the human experience. It’s unavoidable. So even if (absurdly) our girls would have lost, they would have won in the long-term, because of their resilience and trust in each other.
This story is loosely based on two people I know, who prove to me, every day, what it means to face adversity and still persevere. But for now, goodnight.