What I Think Now

by Lisa Inserra
inspired by Courtney Nickel’s demo-lesson

My older sister Donna always got straight A’s. Each year at Miss Wright’s private grade school we had an awards ceremony where Miss Wright stood up on the stage and gave out awards. First she’d call out the students who got First Honors, and then those who got Second Honors. My sister was a First Honors girl. Every year, she got to walk up onto the stage first because she was First Honors. And every year I would walk up onto the stage second because I was a Second Honors girl. Second honors. The walk of shame. It took a quarter of a century before I began to get over that yearly humiliation.

I’ve never thought of my sister as smart. She did her homework OK, but she NEVER surprised me. She never did anything unpredictable. It was as if she was reading her life off a script. 

Yes, you guessed it. She got into a Seven Sisters school, and graduated summa cum laude. And still, through all of that, she has never taught me anything I didn’t already know. And worse, she has never inspired me.

If I could change something about my life, I would change all those years of feeling like I was “second”, because I think now that the second honors kids are the ones who make life worth it.

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