Shy Girl


This post is in response to  the daily prompt (embarrassment).

She stood in front of the class, heart racing, face an unnatural shade of bright red. All of the liquid from her mouth must have moved to her palms. She wiped them on her pants to dry, but it was no use; they were soaked again a second later.

Everyone stared up at her, expectation showing in their faces. She caught her professor’s eyes; he nodded once, a small sign of encouragement.

She tried to move her tongue, but it was stuck fast to the roof of her mouth. She took a few wobbly steps to the podium, felt a little better hiding behind its protection. A few deep breaths, hoping her flaming face would extinguish itself. Her first slide appeared on the screen and she began her presentation.

Her voice sounded strange to her ears. It seemed deeper, scratchier than normal and her speech pattern had taken on a halting quality. She hoped no one noticed. Not that many people in the room had ever heard her talk before. No one wants to be friends with the shy girl.

Her mind blanked as her third slide came up. She panicked. Started rambling. Looked around the room to see if anyone noticed. Boredom reigned over the facial features of the classmates in front of her. Eyes glazed over. Cell phones popped out. She hoped they weren’t going to record this massive failure.

Her eyes slide to the clock on the wall as she rambled. She’d only been talking for two minutes out of her ten minute presentation. How was that possible? She’d been up here for at least thirty minutes, right?

Her professor was writing something. Was he taking notes? Or ignoring her like everyone else? Was she going to fail the class?

Stop it, she told herself. You can do this. You have to do this. Giving presentations is part of your career choice.

She took a few more deep breaths. It’s not as if anyone was paying attention anyway. Her over-practiced speech came flooding back into her head. She powered through the remainder of her presentation.

When she was finished, there was a round of obligatory applause. She smiled, then retreated hastily to her seat and hunkered down, thankful the attention was now off her.

A classmate leaned over. “Good job,” he whispered.


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