A Time When You Were Embarrassed

by Lindsey Tan (P5 2021)
                Beep! Beep! Beep! I sighed exasperatedly as I tapped repetitively on my smartphone. I was deleting some old photographs to clear up my device storage. Soon, I came across a photograph that made me flush a bright red. It was a forgotten screenshot of an embarrassing event in my school life. As I examined the photograph, I cracked a smile as I remembered the incident attached to the photograph vividly…


                “Jane! Hurry up, won’t you?” my mother bellowed from downstairs, holding her purse in her hand. At once, I stuffed my make-up pouch into my bag as I flew down the stairs. Today was not just any other ordinary day; it was the day of the school talent show! As I was the principal ballerina of my dance company, my friend coaxed me to join the talent show to win the grand prize. I had been practising every day for hours after school for this talent show and was confident that I would get first place. I entered the car with my belongings in tow, and the car drove off, with me sitting as proud as a peacock.


                After a while, we finally arrived at the talent show. I was overwhelmed with excitement as I hopped off the car and went backstage. I was well prepared but still rehearsed my ballet routine, showing off my clean turns and moves. I was wearing a shiny tutu-skirt, and had my hair tied up into a bun. I smiled smugly as I returned to the couch in the waiting area, feeling that there was no need to practise anymore as I had perfected everything. “All the best,” my arch-rival Jessica chirped sarcastically, and she gave a dry laugh. The talent show was at my school auditorium, and it was huge. The auditorium was soon filled with parents and my classmates, and their loud chattering soon filled the room. The talent show commenced shortly after and the atmosphere was electrifying. As my turn grew closer, my confidence rose. I was confident that I would not make any mistakes while dancing.


                “Jane? It’s your turn now,” a lady wearing a thin smile called out to me.


                I stuck my nose up high and sauntered gracefully onstage. I took a bow, smiling sweetly to the judges as I introduced myself. My classmates were recording the scene on their smartphones, eager to send it to me after my performance.


                “You may begin,” one of the judges motioned for me to start. I took a deep breath and decided that now was the time to show them what I had meticulously prepared. Soothing, classical music filled the air and I flittered across the stage, along to the tune. At that moment, I was so engrossed in the music and I felt like nothing could bring me down.


                However, a familiar dry laugh and series of loud clicks from the wings of the stage caught me unaware and I slipped, crashing heavily onto the ground in a most humiliating manner. “She was moving so awkwardly. She looks better on the ground!” Jessica cackled. I scanned the audience and saw that most of them were trying to stifle their laughter. The judges’ jaws hung open and some of my classmates were snickering. I felt my cheeks burn and right then, I wished that the earth would open and swallow me whole. I was overcome with mortification as I endured the mocking looks of my fellow schoolmates.


                “Sorry,” I mumbled before getting to my feet and limping backstage. I choked back a sob and hot tears threatened to spill from my eyes. I became the object of ridicule for the rest of the talent show. I packed my bags without even waiting for the show to end, I rushed out of the auditorium, calling my mother on my cell phone to pick me up immediately. My mother acknowledged my request and drove me home.


                I arrived home with a gloomy face and slumped right into bed, hoping that it was all just a horrible nightmare. I then cried myself to sleep.


                “Wake up, you’re going to be late for school,” my mother gently pulled the blanket off me.


                I yawned and did my usual routine before heading to school. The memories of yesterday’s embarrassing incident were now all a blur. I walked into school and was greeted by snickers. Many text messages began appearing on my smartphone. I opened them and saw thousands of pictures of me falling the previous day. I had totally forgotten about it, but it still haunted me. Jessica had snapped a picture of me falling and posted it on multiple social media platforms. My face flushed a bright red as I walked into class and buried my face in a book. “How embarrassing! And they even made me into a meme!” I slowly closed the book and took out my necessary textbooks for the next lesson.


                I was still as red as a tomato when my teacher walked into the classroom. To my surprise, the talent show judges had followed her into the room too. They were holding on to a trophy and they wanted to present it to me. They believed I had danced so beautifully, and it left them mesmerised. Then, they demanded that Jessica delete the photographs from all her social media platforms. She groaned but then, apologised to me in front of everyone.


                I chuckled to myself, remembering the funny and embarrassing moments. Unbeknownst to Jessica, I had taken a screenshot of one of the photographs. That incident taught me not to feel brought down by bullies, even when I felt very embarrassed. In fact, we should be kind to everyone. Stuffing my smartphone into my pocket, I left the room, smiling to myself.
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