I looked at my mark,
a perfect 50/50.
It was the best in class but still not good enough
because I had gotten a lower mark on my last test.
Why wasn't I satisfied?
Because I needed full marks for everything
in every subject.
I was a stupid failure.
Perfect marks still weren't enough for me
because everyone compared their marks to mine
and I needed to get an A on every test
in order to prove I was something.
Because it had never been about my sense of humour
or that I was a good friend
or that I tried hard.
It was only about my marks
and how smart I was.
If I wasn't smart
if I didn't answer every question correctly
if I got anything less than an A
What did I have?
I was nothing.
unless my marks were perfect.
And if they weren't
people rang the school
assuming there had been a mistake.
Blaming the teacher
the test conditions
and how I was feeling that day.
But the truth is
I am not as smart as they all think
and that is what keeps me up at night
thinking about my imperfect marks.