Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Power (05/10/04)
TITLE: The Power of the Truth
By Christine Rhee
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This morning, the day of her audition for the Regional Honor Band, was no exception. And to make matters worse, she was becoming sicker by the moment.
Annie took one look at Chelsea as she loaded her bassoon into the van and knew her friend was in no condition to audition, much less drive. “Maybe you should just go home, Chels,” she wanted to warn her friend. “I can get my mom to drive me.”
“No way,” Chelsea wouldn’t dream of giving her rival, Erin O’Connor, a chance to gloat. “I’ll be fine.”
But by the time she’d driven halfway to the University campus, Chelsea knew she wasn’t fine, wasn’t even close to being fine. She could barely keep her burning eyes open, and her throat felt as though it were on fire. Her lungs were filling up with fluid so that she could barely croak, “You’d better drive the rest of the way, Annie.”
Chelsea pulled over to the side of the raod, turned off the ignition, and handed the keys to her disbelieving friend.
“Are you sure?” Annie didn’t know what to think. “Won’t your mom be mad if I drive her van?”
“She’d be more upset if we crashed,” Chelsea rasped. “Really.”
Fifteen minutes later the girls pulled into the University parking lot. Chelsea crawled back to lie on one of the van benches. “You go ahead,” she waved her friend on. “I’ll rest here until it’ time for my audition.”
Excitement buzzed in the band room as Mr. Turnbull handed out the audition scores. Chelsea felt sick in anticipation of failure. She’d barely been able to play at all at the audition, hadn’t even been able to force out answers to the judges’ questions.
Her chin dropped to the floor when the band director handed her her evaluation, his eyes twinkling. Not only had she made the band, she’d actually beaten Erin O’Connor!
Chelsea’s heart was in her throat as she approached Mr. Turnbull’s office. The news she had to tell him would eradicate the new status she’d gained in the bandroom, would cause Erin’s sneers and jibes to return at full force.
The judge had made an addition error on her score sheet. She probably hadn’t even qualified to be in the band.
But the truth was the truth, and she had to tell it. It was only right.
The students milled about the band room as Chelsea found her seat. She’d lost her third chair, but they’d allowed her to join the band anyway.
She noticed Erin O’Connor sneering at her over the music stands. Erin needed to get a life.
“Hi, I’m Becky,” the girl next to her smiled. “Isn’t it exciting that we get to be here in this band?”
Chelsea thought of the previous year, when she’d sat fourth chair, and Erin O’Connor had spent the entire weekend hogging the music.
“Yeah,” she smiled shyly at her new-found friend. “It’s really great.”
Becky and Chelsea sat up late into the night, sharing their dreams for the future.
“I can’t believe you’re actually graduating from high school,” Chelsea sat perched on the bed, smiling dreamily.
“I’m so glad you could come!” Becky bubbled.
“I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” Chelsea hugged her friend, as she reflected on how powerfully a once-painful truth had blessed her.