Black Belt Trials: Round One

Not quite a full set here, but a good photo moment with a dry sky!

Ate a falafel sandwich under a Church Road bus shelter, watching hail bounce. Between hail showers we sat outside; the sun blazed but sometimes it rained too. It was exhausting: taking off a coat, a scarf, a jacket, rolling up the wool trousers, the shirt sleeves, and swiftly reassembling it all, shivering, and repeat, repeat, repeat. A small cough flourished.
It was a Bristol pre-grading day. Twelve of our students were there to be studied, amongst the nervous batch of 100 or so. The question was not pass or fail, though that's how they felt. The question was, are they ready? If they could do better, then try again would not (it should not) be a negative. We should remember all that disappointment can bring: the priceless grit of perseverance, how it lines the path to a destination of deeper import: but it still hurts to hear it. Sometimes philosophy must be augmented with a hug.
While we all waited, under an indecisive sky, I thought to do some writing and then my pen was out of ink. But I had the constant costume change to occupy me, and ample snacks of conversation.
The day unfolded well for our twelve. Most of them had barely struck homewards when we phoned with results: and they all got the answer they had hoped for. They will be back in April. They are delighted. And scared: it's real now, it is undeniably real! But all together; pass, fail, retake, panic; these trials, if we face them, they make us better. That's the point of it, for me.
The crazy paved weather calmed to a dry brisk wind. Mr drove us home. We had misplaced the spare flask, so in the early morning rush had put a batch of espresso into an empty wine bottle. It had a resilient celebratory feel to it and a faint aftertaste of red fruit.


Angie said…
I'm loving reading your words! Do you live near Bristol?
Lisa Southard said…
Thank you Angie: I live in Cornwall, but travel to Bristol several times a year. It's not a bad commute!

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