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Curse of the Common Name
The day had finally come: April 1st. With it, came the promised letter letting me know if I had a future or not. Consumed with fear, I sat an stared at the little white envelope. I could not bring myself to open it just yet; I wasn’t sure if I would like what was inside. My heart was pounding so loudly I was certain my mother could hear it from downstairs. I shook my head. This was absolutely ridiculous; this tiny envelope was causing me more anxiety than the SAT, the ACT, and finals week put together! At this rate, I would have high blood pressure and gray hair by the time I graduated.
Finally, not able to handle the suspense any longer, my trembling fingers broke the seal. I gingerly removed the letter and slowly unfolded it. I nearly cried when I saw the words:
Congratulations! You have been accepted!
Those were the greatest five words I had ever read. I re-read them over and over, just to make sure I was not mistaken. Once, they finally sunk in, I had to restrain myself from running around the whole neighborhood screaming “I’m going to college!” Not just any college, mind you, but the hardest one I had applied to. My college counsellor had said it was a stretch, but she was only trying to keep me from disappointment. I jumped on Facebook and immediately made it my Status. I didn’t work this hard for four straight years to keep this kind of thing to myself!
After logging out, I felt guilty for sharing my news with everyone before I had even told my parents. I sprang up from my desk and bounded down the stairs, taking them two at a time. In the family room, my mother was perched on the couch while my dad reclined in his hideous La-Z-Boy watching the news. They both looked up in as I came rushing into the room.
“Congratulations! You have been accepted!” I read, clutching the letter tightly in my hands as if it could fly away at any second. Their looks of bewilderment instantly changed into looks of excitement.
“Wow, that’s great news, Samantha!” my dad said with a gigantic smile. “Let me see the letter.”
I was hesitant to part from it, but I eventually let the letter go so that they could see for themselves. My mother’s eyes brimmed with tears of joy as she scanned the letter. For the past five months she had been even more caught up in the whole application process than myself. She drove me insane with her constant nagging about deadlines and scholarships. Every word from my college counsellor’s mouth she viewed as the Word of God- a testament that had to be obeyed. It was as if she were applying to college, herself.Though, I had to admit all of the standardized tests, essays, and tedious applications were totally worth this kind of admiration from my parents.
“Why don’t we go out to dinner to celebrate?” my mother suggested, tears still welling in her eyes.
We all climbed into our ugly, old mini van that we have had ever since I can remember. Why my father refused to buy a new car, I was not sure. As an investor, I guess he foresaw the need for a substantial amount of money to be spent sometime in the future... We drove to my favorite Italian restaurant and were seated right away.
“How are you all doing tonight?” the waitress asked with a smile.
My mom took the liberty of explaining my acceptance and launched into a near ten minute conversation about college. I slouched in my chair, suddenly embarrassed at how much my mother was sharing. My ears perked up, however, when I heard the waitress say:
“Oh, how funny that your acceptance came today, of all days! That would be rotten if it was an April Fool’s joke or something.”
I frowned. “Excuse me?”
My parents’ eyes widened with horror. The waitress seemed to notice her mistake right away. She scrambled to explain herself. “Well, I’m certain that they would never do anything like that! I was merely making a joke; it’s April Fool’s day, after all. You have nothing to worry about, Sweetie.”
I almost gagged. I couldn’t decide what I disliked more about her: her inability to think before speaking or her feeble attempt at sucking up.
“I’m not worried about my college acceptance,” I said through my teeth. “But you might want to rethink your career as a comedian. You’re rotten at making jokes.”
The waitress’ face turned as red as the tomatoes that would be thrown at her if she ever tried to be a stand-up comic. She hastily scribbled down our orders before rushing away to the kitchen. I think she knew that she was not going to receive a very good tip tonight.
My parents tried to console me, but I couldn’t get past what the waitress had said. What if something like that did happen? Would a school be so cruel as to accept someone as a “joke”? After giving it some thought, I came to the conclusion that that was absolutely ridiculous. No school would do such a thing...right?
When we got home, I reread the letter, just to make sure there was no “April Fool’s!” in there somewhere. There wasn’t. I decided to check my Facebook to see if anyone had commented on my Status. To my surprise, there were seven comments already and more than a dozen people had Liked it. I smiled with delight as I replied to each of the comments.
I went to check my email as I waited for my friends to reply. I logged on to my email account and saw that I had two new messages. I checked the first one, sent earlier this morning. It was the same acceptance I had received in the mail. The second one was from the same school but said something entirely different:
We regret to inform you that we will not be able to offer you a place in the entering class of 2011.
My heart stopped and all was silent. I was stunned. My eyes burned as tears rapidly spilled onto my cheeks. This couldn’t be. There is no way that this could be. They had just accepted me this morning! They couldn’t just take it back. I called downstairs for my parents and showed them the email.
My mother was furious. Although a mere five-foot, ninety-eight pound woman, not even a professional wrestler would dare to take her on. She clenched the home phone tightly in her hand as she dialed the admissions office of the school. I sat with my father while my mom restrained herself from chewing out the poor, unfortunate soul on the other end. The conversation seemed to go on and on until finally, my mother hung up the phone. I waited in suspense for her to explain.
“They sent that email to the wrong Samantha Smith.”
I couldn’t read her expression. I gulped. “Which email?”
Slowly, a smile creeped over her face. “The rejection email. They somehow got your email address mixed up with the one of another girl named Samantha Smith.”
Relief washed over me. “So I’m still accepted?”
My mother smiled, again with tears in her eyes. “Yes.”
I laughed at what could have been the worst April Fool’s joke of all time. Just then, my inbox lit up.
1 New Email.
Here we go again...