PARCC…a Noise a Sick Cat Makes?

A Memoir-ish Thing About The Devilry Known as the PARCC Test

Kaitlyn Greiner, Freelancer; Special to Warrior Ink

Silence is golden only when it is a comforting silence, and this intense quiet is certainly no comfort. I have been imprisoned here in this silence until such a time as my task is completed; even the familiar scritch of graphite on paper is muffled by the air, heavy with frustration and panic as it is.

I have long since reached my limit. I can no longer stand the silence, the questions that ask so much of my poor muddled mind, the feeling that I cannot do this simply because I lack the focus to find what I need.

I wonder if the space about me is heavier than that about the others.

I can almost feel my nerves fraying as I stare at the screen, wishing desperately for a moment of clarity, of focus, of understanding. My senses sharpen to try and grant my wish, and suddenly the room is no longer silent.

I hear every key depression, every fiber of shifting cloth, every whisper of breath from every living body in the room. My eyes flit from word to word at random as I begin to panic; my focus is gone, I cannot understand the words, I cannot understand anything.

I rub my eyes and paw through my hair, attempting in vain to calm myself as frustrated tears threaten to well up. A hard knot of emotion catches in my throat; fury, terror, despair. An urge—a desperate, instinctual urge—sweeps over me, telling me to fall to the ground, to scream until my lungs are raw and my ears ring with the long-gone reverberations of my voice, to crawl under the table and sob until the tears can’t form or I’ve slipped into unconsciousness.

But I don’t listen.

I skip the last few questions, gather my things, bid a polite farewell to the test monitors and the teachers, and—with a graceful calm that I never knew myself to possess—beat a hasty retreat to the familiar noise and tumult of actual class.

For a moment, I pity those still trapped in that deafening silence. But only for a moment.