I opened my eyes slowly. It was dawn. Drowsy as I was it didn’t register until I saw the sun filter in through the window. I had studied most of the night so I slept very little.                                                        I looked at the wall clock, it was 7:30am. I jumped out of bed instantly. I had a paper by 8:15am and I was already getting late.                                                                    I brushed my teeth, washed my face, put on clean clothes and dashed out of the house. I didn’t think about breakfast or anything. My heart was pounding with the realization that I might miss my final paper if I didn’t make it on time.                                                               “The rules were the rules.” The professor kept repeating it every year. And each year I had seen students repeat an exam due to lateness. Punctuality was a core value.                                                                      Fortunately, my house wasn’t far from school… Just a few narrow turnings and I’d be face to face with the hall. That day however, the bends didnt seem to end. It was like the road had been elongated during the night.                                       I checked my watch, it was 8am. My breath caught in my throat. I had less than fifteen minutes to get to the hall. I increased my pace and nearly broke into a run when I saw Steve at the end of the bend. Luckily, I saw him first. I stood transfixed as my mind reeled with possibilities. I had to get away.                                Everybody knew Steve was a trouble maker and I hadn’t stayed away. I had confronted him when he harrased me. That was the only way to get him off my back. Most people were terrified of him and he thrived on it. Standing up to him had surprised and confused him but it had also earned me his absolute hatred.                                                                                Now I was standing a few feet from him. What better way to exert his revenge? He undoubtedly knew it was my last paper. I started to turn away when our eyes met. I stood frozen. He smiled smugly.                                                                              There was nothing I could do. I started walking. My feet felt like lead as I raised one after the other. I discreetly checked my watch. It was 8:10am. I was alarmed. I silently sent a prayer to God for help. Steve would do whatever he had to do to prevent me from getting into the hall. His hatred ran that deep.                                   As I approached the end of the bend, behind the hall, Steve smiled mockingly and clapped…                                “Well… Well… If it isn’t Her Excellency Sharon… To what do I owe the honor?”                 I started to squirm when I heard a voice roar… “Steve, back off and young lady, don’t you have an exam you need to write?” I didn’t have to look up to know it was none other than the professor. I was relieved beyond words and dashed into the hall just after giving Prof. Justin a grateful smile.                                                          I sat down heavily and closed my eyes…. It had been an eventful morning and I was lucky, indeed blessed to have been resued and given a chance… I sent up a prayer of thanks to God and sighed as I heard the professor say one last time, “The Rules Are The Rules!” 

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