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40 Magical Minutes
Eagerly joining a long line of adventure seekers who break rules in order to complete their quest, that night I brazenly defied a regulation placed on my life and risked punishment so that I might achieve my high ambition. Like so many before me I was out to make a discovery that was of the up most importance.
The world gradually began to darken as I started my undertaking and the temperature steadily decreased making the already cold air almost unbearable to me. I started to shiver but I dare not turn back, even to retrieve a coat that would offer much welcome comfort. For all I cared that night my hand could have fallen off, I still would have continued my daring endeavor. Having my curiosity satisfied was of much greater importance than my health let alone my comfort.
I had to stay put if I did not want to risk missing anything not to mention leaving then journeying back might result in someone discovering me, but the mixture of the long wait and the cold were wearing away my reserve. So to fight off thoughts of abandoning my cause I had to keep reminding myself how many others had failed at my task that night by being weak. How great would it be if my mission was the one that ended in success?
Newly fortified by encouraging thoughts I was able to build up the courage to ever so cautiously peak my head around the mountainous object I had found to hide behind. Sadly however, there was not even a glimpse of my desired target.
I can still remember the way my heart began to race as I continued to await my victory. Often I would think I heard movement and I would hold my breath so that not even the slight sound of my respiration could have a chance of interfere with my ability to listen for my goal.
The night seemed to race on towards morning but I knew that my perception was altered due to the extreme conditions I was working under. In addition to the cold I felt I started to notice my eye lids were staying shut longer and longer every time I blinked. They started to fell so heavy I was worried I would not be able to fight off sleep, and sleep was the last thing I wanted that night.
In desperate attempts to stay alert I bit my bottom lip with as much force as I could muster and clawed at my own flesh with my finger nails. For a while the pain was sufficient enough to keep me awake but it turned out to be futile. The elements were not on my side but to my credit I fought as hard as I could for as long as I could.
Light a woken me that next morning and even though it made my eyes soar to be meet with such brightness after a long dark night I held them open anyway. Sleeping with my glasses on my face had caused the frames to make a small cut on the side of my head but it was of little matter to me. All I could really think about was hurriedly getting to my feet.
As quickly as I could I stood up from behind my hiding place from the night before, the sofa in my living room. From where I stood I could see that I had failed in my mission. Toys filled my stocking and the milk and cookies I had placed out the evening before were gone.
I had once again fallen asleep waiting for Santa Clause, entirely missing my chance to see him until another year passed. And to a five year old a year is literally a fifth of a lifetime.
My disappointment was evident and my mother was quick to comfort me as I stood pouting while my brother happily tore down his stocking.
“Well you stayed up forty minutes this year,” she said. “I’m sure that next year you will be able to stay up all night for Santa.”
My grief was short lived thankfully, there were toys after all, but in my glee at the silly things Santa had left for me I forgot to ponder something. In fact it is something that went unnoticed by me for many years.
I had been so careful to hide the fact I had snuck out of my room to the living room and to stay up past my bedtime, so how did my mother know when I fell asleep?