February 3, 2020
Thump, thump, thump. My heart was pounding out of my chest, and my head felt like it weighed hundreds of pounds. My bony fingers were shaking with every move I made. Despite the horrible condition I was in, it was a beautiful day. A cool breeze tickled my neck and kissed my cheek leaving a stream of goosebumps riding down my spine. The air was humid and muggy, and I felt like I was trapped inside a cardboard box. However, everyone’s lawn was freshly manicured, and there was not a grain of dust found on the crisp, pearly white streets because today was ranking day. Fifteen more minutes. At this point, I was questioning if I was going to get there in time.
The alarm. The alarm went off and I wasn’t on time. It was 8:00 a.m., and the alarm just went off. I wasn’t there. Picking up my pace, I ran. Fast and faster until the trees, stores, and shops all went to a blur. My legs felt like overcooked noodles; my flesh was hot and clammy with sweat, and my eyes felt like a million bees had stung them since the air left them dry. Then I saw it. I saw them. All 99 of them, and me at the back of the line. I could be here for hours.
Ranking closes at 10:00 a.m. and at 8:00 p.m. the ranks are shown. In that 10 hours in-between period, we could do whatever we wanted, and we could say whatever we needed because our actions wouldn’t be held against us for the next year’s rank. Good or bad, your choice, we never questioned the rules. Life was black and white; the rules were the rules, and they were forbidden to be broken.