It has been a particularly trying week.
The train inconvenience, coupled with the lack of any news about my college application, has brought me closer to sanity's precipice than safety permits. My nails are bitten down to the quick, my sleep is fitful and sparse, and my lungs have long since abandoned hope of ever receiving a fresh supply of oxygen.
I called the Institute on Wednesday. "I'm just calling to see whether I've been accepted on the course," I said. I expected the mantra, "Have you filled in an application form?" and knew to reply with the requisite "yes." After couple of minutes there was news. And not the news I'd been hoping for. Not even the news I'd been dreading. No.
"Are you sure you've sent one through? You're not in our records."
Ye Gods! Where are you in my hour of darkest peril? Am I forsaken?
I kept the tenuous hold on my sanity with white knuckles, and spoke softly and calmly, through gritted teeth. "I attended an interview 11 days ago. I was expecting a decision by now."
"Oh." The woman at the other end shrugged audibly. "Hold on a minute, please."
I could hear the cogs turning in my watch as the time leached almost imperceptibly away.
Over the course of a decade, another two minutes passed. "Hello? I've been in touch with the building where you had the interview, and they're sending the decision to us tomorrow. We'll call you then."
I breathed again.
Thursday passed. They didn't call.
By lunchtime on Friday, they had still not called.
A small part of me reasoned that they'd want to tell my quickly if I'd been declined, but the rest of me thought that the part in question was a damned fool, and they'd be ganging up on it later. Julian (my inner librarian) paused and cleaned his glasses (spectacles, thank you!). He looked at me, shook his head sadly, and carried on categorizing my memory in accordance with Dewey.
That was it. For better, or (as I suspected) worse, I must know. My left hand has had the shakes since the interview, and it took all my concentration to dial the number without inadvertently ordering a taxi. I asked, as calmly as I could, whether I'd been accepted on the course.
No mantra. Perhaps my slightly desperate tone alerted the receptionist that here was a man over the edge of reason, hanging from a twig which had snagged his jacket.
"Hang on, please". There was a clammy silence.
I could feel tectonic plates shifting beneath me. I was expecting the ground to open up and reclaim me.
"The letter went out yesterday, but-"
I interrupted. I couldn't bear it any longer. My entire nervous system closed down to minimise the damage. My sanity put its coat on and turned out the light by the exit.
I was dead for a split second. I no longer existed; there was only the voice, matter-of-fact and all consuming.
"The acceptance letter. But-"
My ears are almost directly connected to my brain. It is only secondary to my heart. Slowly the muscle contracted, as it started pushing blood around my body again. Eventually, somewhere around "second class post," the brain caught up.
"I've been accepted?"
Never before has a single word filled me with such elation.
"The letter was sent yesterday, but it was only second class post, so you should receive it around the middle of next week."
I thanked her profusely, and hung up. I couldn't decide whether to divert an asteroid on collision course with the Earth, mediate for world peace, or find a cure for cancer. I settled for a deeply unsatisfying attempt at clicking my heels instead.
BA (Hons) Media Writing and Production
I shall be a film student.