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Perfectly Balanced: Finals

Esther Michelson

“Camp is fun but we’ve got to get through finals first,” she cautioned. “There’s work to be done before we can truly relax and refresh”

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

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ashy sat hunched over her homework, a deep frown of concentration fixed on her thin, freckled face. Her forehead creased, her nose dove deeper into her notebook and her mechanical pencil slowed to a stop.

“I don’t get it!” she exclaimed. “How does this add up? I’ve done these examples before; I thought I had it down pat!”

“What’s the matter?” Devoiry asked, pausing mid-doodle to have a look at the offending example. “Oh, that? I gave up on it a long time ago. I could never figure it out. But I know the rest of the math, I think, so I expect to pass the final anyway.”

Bashy twisted her fingers around each other, then proceeded to crack her knuckles. “Devoiry, stop. You know it’s not an option for me to just give up on this. I’m not starting out with just an 80!” Bashy shook her head and her face contorted from the very thought. No, she would have to master the math — every part of it — no matter what it took.

“Hey, why don’t we take a break and go upstairs for some snacks?” Devoiry suggested. “You look like you need a change in scenery and space. You’re concentrating too hard.”

“Well, yeah, it’s finals season — what else should I be doing?”

Devoiry took hold of Bashy’s arm and pulled her to her feet. “Come on, Bashy — this way. It’s break time. Allowing you to remain with your books for so long is dangerous. Math is killing you, finals are killing you. School is sakanas nefashos! Goodness, I can’t wait until camp when I finally get my good ol’ friend Bashy back!” she exclaimed.

Bashy couldn’t help but smile at the thought.

“Yeah, camp is fun,” she agreed. And it was true, she realized, as a mental snapshot of Bashy-the-camper flashed through her mind, that such a different part of her came out in the summer sunshine.

“I’m really looking forward!” Devoiry bounced up the steps two at a time, her ponytail dancing to her enthusiasm. “It’s so hard to study! I can’t sit still anymore! I just want to be in camp already!”


“I do, too,” Bashy agreed, now that she thought about it. Between math, science, and history finals, her brain cells had all been occupied with the priority of the moment; all else had been barred entry. Funny how her brain capacity seemed to suddenly expand when the notion of summer fun was introduced to the mix.

Bashy followed Devoiry up the steps and into the kitchen, her steps ever slightly lighter.

“Camp is fun but we’ve got to get through finals first,” she cautioned. “There’s work to be done before we can truly relax and refresh.”

Devoiry reached for a cookie and offered one to her study companion. “Right you are, but I have no more brain space left for studying. We make for great study partners, the two of us: you’re taking this way too seriously, I can barely sit for a half hour. If only your focus overload would transfer to me and my chill pill surplus would settle on you, we’d make a perfectly balanced pair.” (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 710)

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