Don’t forget

“Promise you’ll always remember me,” Yrial said, tucking her books under her arm and pushing through the door.

Eloa quickly followed her. “Come on. It wasn’t that bad, was it?”

“What did you get?”

“It was a tough one. I only scored a 96.”

“Only,” Yrial said.

“How did you do?”

She marched on a few more steps in silence. When she turned to answer him, he saw the tears in her eyes. “68,” she said. She bit her lip and turned from him.

Eloa didn’t know what to say. All she had worked for, all her preparations, all her dreams, everything gone with a single test. “Maybe everybody else did just as poorly,” he suggested.

“At least one person didn’t,” she said.

“So now it’s my fault?”

She stopped and turned to face him. “I’m not saying that, Eloa, and you know it.” She studied his face. “But we both know what this means. I may as well pack up my things.”

“Don’t be too quick to dismiss yourself. We won’t know the full results until tomorrow. There’s still a chance.”

“You are such a naive optimist. Do you really think that everybody failed the test?”

“You’re being prematurely pessimistic. Wait for the results.”

“I’m not being pessimistic. Realistic. There’s a difference.”

“And I’m being pragmatic. Give it a day.”

“Eloa, I know what you’re trying to do, and I appreciate it. I really do. But there’s no chance for me now. I know it.” She hugged her books to her chest. “Life sure is funny sometimes, isn’t it?”


“Think of it. All my life I’ve been working toward this. My parents have given everything they’ve had to give me this chance. Doors opened for me when they shouldn’t have. I’ve really beat the odds, in a lot of ways. People much smarter than I were passed over, and somehow I’ve gotten in, time and time again. For the past few years, I even believed I could do it, that maybe somehow I was gifted, maybe even preordained. It’s like I’ve lived a charmed life. And suddenly it’s over. Funny, isn’t it?”

Eloa paused to consider. “I wouldn’t think funny would be term I’d choose,” he said carefully.

“Hilarious. Ironic. Gut-bustingly uproarious. Grab a thesaurus. I don’t care which word you choose; it’s still funny. And you know the best part? You’re going to be the one. You’re going to be chosen. The last person anyone would have thought would make it. You’re going to pass up everyone, get on that ship, and save the world. And everyone else who couldn’t quite keep up, you’ll just have to leave them behind. And in a billion years when you get to your new home, you won’t even remember me. You won’t remember me.”

She wasn’t being fair. He couldn’t blame her, though. She needed a day or two to calm down. And maybe tomorrow the results would be posted and she’d see that everyone had a hard time on this test. She just needed to wait until tomorrow.

Would tomorrow ever come?

That was a billion years ago. He still remembered it like it was yesterday.

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