I wish I could bottle moments, memories. Not like putting them in a Pensieve. This is different. Because if you get to bottle the moment, rather than put it in a shallow basin, you get to give that cork a satisfying yank for the release of the bottle’s content. You get to let the moment you bottled wash over you like a caffeine fix when you open up a Dr. Pepper. You get to put your bottled moment on the shelf, and it looks pretty. I wish I could bottle this moment, so I can have it for always. As a novice writer, and non-bottle beverage drinker, this post will be my cork. 

Very recently, I was having a moment–a different kind of moment, an italicized moment. Not the kind of moment that you bottle up. You’ve had them too, so please don’t judge. Just a moment where Finals week because a grim, impossible reality, and life becomes too insurmountable to do it all. And even if you have a very good track record of pulling it all off in the clutch, in these italicized moments there seems very little possibility of it happening this time. And every time I realize that I can’t possibly do it all, a little bit of self-hatred creeps into my soul.  For the Type A, medium-smart but very driven girl, not being a prodigy has been something that has been very hard for me to cope with. My whole life.

So I stumbled to Jeremy, shame-faced, because I’ve had one or two of these little meltdowns this week (IT’S FINALS, OK?!). And I cried. I just cried because I really don’t think that I can possibly do it all. And even though Jeremy has heard it all before (in the last 24 hours), he didn’t sigh. He didn’t get frustrated. He didn’t tell me “Yes! Yes you can, Sierra.”–which I would have hated during the moment so I am glad he didn’t. 

He said,

“I love you whether you can do it or not. I love you the same if you get a C or an A. I wish you loved yourself that much.”

I heard it, but I didn’t really hear it. “I know, I know you love me. But I just… Why can’t I be a prodigy?”

And Jeremy looked at me. I watched his expression–I watched his eyebrows sink into soul-reading concern. I felt his thumb slip beneath my eyes and snatch my tears. Quietly, ever so quietly, he said, 

“Sierra, don’t you get it? You’re a prodigy to me.” 

So I must cork these words up and keep them close to my heart, not just on my shelf where they look nice. Because for the first time in my life, I felt capable of being what he saw in me.  And for tonight, and for tomorrow, and for whenever I uncork my bottle: It doesn’t matter one hoot if I am a prodigy to Professors Johnson or West. Because I’m not and I will never be. 

But it doesn’t matter. I am a prodigy to him, as he’s always been to me.