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.

Otherwise

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

my vocabulary

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.

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.