The room was small. I was shielded from being able to view the people around me, but I could sense them. I saw them when I walked in, and totally knew that they were there. I mean, even without seeing them you knew. You couldn't see them, but you couldn't not see them, ya know?
And the cameras. Was anyone actually watching us?
I'm the kind of person who often looks up when I think. I don't know what I'm looking at, or looking FOR, but I look up. I look around. I look like I'm trying to cheat, I suppose. I know I've been told to "keep my eyes on my paper" more than once in my school years.
So looking up and seeing those cameras a part of me wanted to wave. Make a face. Say hi. Pretend I was at my wedding, my sweet sixteen, even, and my father was encouraging me. 'Hey, you, you out there! Hi! I see you seeing me.'
But I didn't. Of course I didn't! I couldn't do that.
I reviewed page after page by clicking the mouse. I looked at my supposed scratch pad of notes. Counted questions. Which - I must clarify - is nothing like counting cards. But I digress ...
I suddenly realized I had to pee. Must have been my nerves, because I'd been in there about four hours and hadn't had a drop to drink. No food or beverages allowed inside. I honestly didn't even realized how much time had gone by. I just knew I was cold, or sweating. Or both. And now I had to pee.
A quick trip to the bathroom, and then back to the room. A deep breath as I walked back in.
I was ready.
One more glance through. I'm ready.
A few deep breaths. Putting my head in my hand. Resting. Shutting my eyes for a split second. I'm ready. To myself. To everyone else. To anyone who could hear my thoughts ...
And I clicked the button.
One ... two ... what? What's that? Ah, great. A short survey while we process your responses. Fantastic. Seriously? Click - was the room too cold? Click - was the facility easy to get to? Click - click - done. Done.
Oh. I really AM done. It's processing. It's truly processing.
Do I look? Do I not look? When will it ... I passed. Oh my G-d, I passed!
This post is in response to the Red Dress Club's RemembeRED prompt this week: "Tell the story (without any trivialization or modesty) of something in your life that you are proud of." This memory is mine from a few years back, when, after being in NC for a while and not working for an even longer while, I sat down to take my LCSW exam for the state of North Carolina. I walked in a bundle of nerves, and walked out a licensed clinical social worker. I PASSED!