She walked up to the stage slowly, as if in a dream,
half grin as she shook the judge's hand and accepted the plaque,
only vaguely aware of the audience's polite applause.

When she returned to her seat, she sought out her grandmother's face,
near the back of the gym, standing next to a row of folded chairs
large camera pointed in her direction

Afterward, while the kids ate stale cookies and drank red punch
the parents spoke about pride, hard work and "when we were in school."

Rachel wondered if her grandparents had the same conversations
when her mom was in school
She didn't mention that to them of course, as it made them sad
Her grandparents that is.