Tabitha couldn’t believe it.
She was 10 years old washed up. A failure. Never going to win anything again.
How had this happened?
She flopped down on the purple blanket that covered her single bed under the window that she loved. It was her second favorite view to the world. Tabitha looked up at the big maple tree that shaded her room in shades of green and brown. She listened to the crows, calling to each other outside.
At least they were happy.
She’d been so sure her experiment was awesome. But it wasn’t.
How could Danny have won? Danny’s experiment was stupid. At least Tabitha thought so. Some dumb slingshot thing. Anyone could make a slingshot and trace the arc of a walnut flying through the air and crashing to the playground.
Not everyone could build a working rocket and do the same.
Everyone knew Tabitha was the smartest girl in class. Her teacher just sighed and smiled and said, “You can’t win every year Tabitha, and besides you won second place. Aren’t you proud of that?”
“You should be proud,” her papa said when he walked her home from school. “You put in a lot of work.”
Tabitha kicked her heels on the purple blanket and looked up at Neil deGrasse Tyson, looming overhead. And the poster of the Crab Nebula.
Ever since she was 5 years old, Tabitha had loved the stars. She dreamed about the stars. She begged her parents to let her set a blanket out at night and stargaze. They had, laying on the red striped blanket with her, letting her point out the constellations as she learned them, year by year.
Her eighth birthday gift was a telescope. Her father hadn’t gotten a new car even though the old car kept breaking down. Tabitha heard her parents whispering about it. She knew they’d gotten her the telescope instead. Her father had insisted. [Read more…] about Tabitha Takes the Prize