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99

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My heart is beating in my chest and my legs are starting to tremble slightly. My face betrays no trace of fear although panic is eating me up inside. I try to fix my eyes on an invisible point in front of me but I look down as soon as I meet his eyes. I feel as if my vital organ is going to burst from my body, so hard and fast is it beating. I stop for a moment, just for a second, to get my breath back. And in the blink of an eye, I escape. All the agitation pent up inside me has now disappeared. My feet are no longer squeezed into high heels, they are bare and I can feel the fine sand trickling between my toes. I walk slowly forward towards the blue waves while the sun beats down on my face, and its rays warm my body. I am rocked by the sound of the ocean and I close my eyes.
When I open them again I am once more overcome by stress. I wish I could get back to the beach in my dreams where all I could hear was the sound of the water, but I know it is impossible. I feel as if years have gone by, though I can only have been here for an hour at the most. I think about what I am going to say when they ask me to speak. I can no longer fix my eyes on the invisible point so I let them stare into his and I wait. I try to hide my anxiety as best I can, I am as if disconnected from the world, but I can still hear the ceaseless, tedious speech just like an old scratched record that keeps going round.
My heart beats wildly again when they speak directly to me. My brain is in meltdown as it seeks to formulate the right words. I no longer know what they are. I feel my hands going clammy, my stomach turning over and my legs trembling. I know that this little phrase will change my whole life, that is what it is supposed to do. I also know that he is waiting for my response and that he must think I have changed my mind. I just want to be sure of the decision I made several months ago now. They wait for me to speak, I wait for the fear to subside and release my vocal cords before I utter.

“I do.”

Translated by Wendy Cross

99

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