I’m not on the list.
16 people on the team, and you’re taking 11 people to Nationals. Sure, only eight get to compete, but at least the others get to be a part of it. Only five left behind. Why me? What the fuck did I do wrong?
I’ve never missed a meeting. Anything you ask, and it’s done. Don’t you know that by now? Isn’t that enough?
What else could I do for you? Every night, every weekend, I devoted myself this above all else. I came right after spending over six hours in the hospital, directly against my doctor’s orders. I came only an hour after finding out that a dear friend of the family had died. I came when I was on the verge of collapse, when everything else in my life was falling apart.
And I didn’t regret it then. Dedication was what I had to offer the team, and it was willingly given. Because this team--
It’s all I have.
But if I can’t make the cut, I guess I have to accept that…
Wait—you’re taking who? Who’d you give my roles to? People who’ve never even played the parts before?!?! People who just joined the team this semester? People who miss meetings and procrastinate and whine about the workload??
…was I really that bad?
My scores weren’t that terrible, I know, I calculated the averages. There’s not a role I can’t play well if you just give me a chance—I went from the pregnant stay at home mother to the arrogant morbid medical examiner for crissake, what the fuck else do you want?
I should just quit. If I’m just going to watch you send others on—I can’t take that. I have my pride, dammit, that’s all I have.
But first, I have to get away from here, away from this team, but especially away from you, my dear coach, one of the few people whose respect I’ve every truly struggled for…
I get to the door without anyone noticing. Hell, I’m invisible after all, just someone who wasn’t good enough.
Then I hear your voice, calling my name. “Can I talk to you for a second?”
I turn. Can you see the tears in my eyes? I hope not. “No.” No, you can’t talk to me. Not right now. If you say another word I’ll lose it and then I’ll really have nothing left.
So instead I take the coward’s option. I run. Run, and don’t look back. Just keep it together till I get to the dorm, ignore the voices behind me. Someone still calling my name…
The tears escape. But there is no one to see them.
I call my parents; preparing to return home, to return to my safe haven for as long as I can. But there is still tomorrow and the next day and the next to face.
I can’t face you.
If I asked you why, what would you tell me? I don’t think I want to know.
I could just quit. On a campus this big, it’s easy to get lost and never be found again.
But no. You said we’d be meeting on Saturday, and dammit, I’ll be there. Even if it takes every bit of strength I have to watch as your chosen eleven prepare. Even if I think you were wrong to discard me so quickly.
Because I said I’d be here for this goddamn team, and I meant it. As long as you still need me—
This is a letter of sorts to my Mock Trial Coach, with all the things I would never say.