With the possibility of failure looming above me like a cloud of despair just waiting to strike me between the eyes, I knew that it was going to be a long night. The hours ticked away reluctantly, as if they were enjoying my torment.
Only a few short hours separated me from knowledge of complete happiness of deep despair. However, I was strangely at peace. I wasn't sure if it was because I had resigned myself to simply reordering the test for June, or if there was something more there- the confidence I had felt for about 10 minutes after I had handed in my testing booklet way back in January. Which ever it was, it was nice to not be thinking non-stop about a silly test.
With sick kids the past few days, I was exhausted. So was my wife. We finally got all the children tucked up and we also retired for the evening. I knew that I could call and have all my worries confirmed or washed away at 5am, but knew that I would not be coherent enough to call at that time. Interestingly enough, when the alarm went off at 6:05am, I hit the snooze button and slept for another 10 minutes. I think I knew deep down that I could call anytime all day, but I could not get another 10 minutes of sleep anytime during the day. When the alarm went off again, I got up, turned off the alarm clock, and stood thinking about things for a minute. I knew that I wanted to know very, very much. I also knew that we had just spent a lot of money at the doctor's office, and that there would be more coming soon. I weighed my desire to know with the cost of finding out early. It really was not an easy decision. My wife had already told me the night before that she would be fine if I decided to call. I wavered for a few minutes before deciding to call.
I silently walked through the house, around sleeping children, and down dark halls to get my iPod, my wallet, and the touch-tone phone. I set up camp at the kitchen table. I slowly dialed the phone knowing that I had waited not a day, not a week, not two weeks, but almost an entire month to get these results. All that was left was to enter a few pieces of information and the automated lady's voice on the other end of the phone would drone out my score- heartless and cold. The computer didn't care if I passed or not. I was just another credit card number to process in exchange for information that would make or devastate my day. I entered the last key piece of information- the expiration date of my credit card. The computer voice started to tell my score. Since the score on the test is between 100 and 200, I knew that my first digit would certainly be a 1. When she said "1", I wasn't shocked. The next digit would be the killer. It had to be at least a 6 to keep me in the running of passing . See, a passing score in Utah on the SLLA test is 163. The next digit was higher than a 6. I was grateful for that. The last digit didn't really matter anymore. I had passed. Or had I?
Being that it was so early in the morning, not feeling well, and knowing that I wanted so desperately to pass, I began to doubt that I had heard the voice correctly. Unfortunately, it is a one time shot (or at least I missed to option to hear it again). I woke my wife and told her what I thought my score was. She cheered and I actually sobbed on her shoulder with relief. I was in complete shock. But, the longer I thought about it, the more I realized that I couldn't trust what I had heard. I knew that I could contact customer service. Maybe they would be able to verify my score. That was my hope. They didn't open until after 10am my time, so I knew that I would have to teach through Friday before I could be sure. My wife was not having any of it. She congratulated me and told me how proud of me she was. (I still have your Christmas tag taped to my study guide dear. Thanks for your unwavering faith in me).
My attention was quickly turned into another direction with my son who had by this time turned into a practically solid red dot. We got him an appointment at the clinic and I took him in before school. I ended up having to call Ms. D to go and open my room and watch for me until I could get there. It was a long day.
When the bell rang for the kids to go home, I was voiceless (thanks to my sickness), exhausted, and ready to leave. I picked up my phone to call and verify my score. My voice sounded like a short-circuiting electronic parrot. When the live lady on the other end answered, I was grateful to have a real person to talk to. I apologized for my voice and made sure she could hear me. I explained my situation and she was happy to help me out. I had verify a bunch of information again (some it several times for her to hear it correctly), and then I asked if the score I had heard was correct. She confirmed that I had indeed passed my test. She congratulated me and ended the call. I sat back in my chair- a victor...tired, exhausted, mentally drained- BUT a happy winner none-the-less. That my friends, is my little victory for the week.