by Gabriella Herkert
‘When you first trudged off to kindergarten,’ her mother began.
‘I failed the bar exam,’ Anne hiccupped, her voice breaking. ‘You don’t understand. I totally messed up.’
‘When you first trudged off to kindergarten,’ her mother repeated, ‘I was concerned about you academically. Learning new things. Reading, writing.’
‘Everything I worked for all those years,’ Anne sobbed.
But you were my little star. Remember To Kill A Mockingbird? You were reading it in the second grade.’
‘This isn’t the second grade.’ Anne leaned against the pay phone in the lobby of the convention center trying to avoid the haggard eyes of the other test takers.
‘Then you went off to the ninth grade science fair. You didn’t know what you were doing, remember? Your experiment wasn’t going to work and everyone was going to know you weren’t Einstein. What happened that time?’
‘Things are a lot different now,’ Anne wiped at her nose with her sleeve.
‘I still have that blue ribbon in the attic someplace. After that I seem to remember the SATs. A very stressful time. You were never going to get in to college. Not even a community college would take you.’
‘This was not the SATs,’ Anne’s voice rose an octave.
‘That National Merit Scholarship was a stroke of luck. Came in handy at Harvard.’ Her mother sighed. ‘Finally, there was law school. You couldn’t spot a crime on Law & Order, a tort was a pastry you ordered at breakfast and you had to look around during your constitutional law final to see if you recognized anyone. Does any of this sound even remotely familiar?’
‘This is different,’ Anne sniffled.
‘Annie, I’m your mother and I love you.’
‘M ‘ o ‘ m,’ Anne shook her head, wiping at her eyes, getting her control back.
‘But I don’t think I’m overstating the case when I say you lack credibility.’
‘I’m telling you, I failed it.’
‘Uh-huh. You’re a nutjob. A total lunatic. You take after your father in that way. Well, gotta go. Talk to you soon, honey.’
To her credit, her mother never said ‘I told you so.’ She did, however, smirk all the way through the swearing in ceremony.