Chapter no 121 – ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌Floating‌


People started applauding before Mr. Tushman’s words actually registered in my brain. I heard Maya, who was next to me, give a little happy scream when she heard my name, and Miles, who was on the other side of me, patted my back. “Stand up, get up!” said kids all around me, and I felt lots of hands pushing me upward out of my seat, guiding me to the edge of the row, patting my back, high-fiving me. “Way to go, Auggie!” “Nice going, Auggie!” I even started hearing my name being chanted: “Aug-gie! Aug-gie! Aug-gie!” I looked back and saw Jack leading the chant, fist in the air, smiling and signaling for me to keep going, and Amos shouting through his hands: “Woo-hoo, little dude!”

Then I saw Summer smiling as I walked past her row, and when she saw me look at her, she gave me a secret little thumbs-up and mouthed a silent “cool beans” to me. I laughed and shook my head like I couldn’t believe it. I really couldn’t believe it.

I think I was smiling. Maybe I was beaming, I don’t know. As I walked up the aisle toward the stage, all I saw was a blur of happy bright faces looking at me, and hands clapping for me. And I heard people yelling things out at me: “You deserve it, Auggie!” “Good for you, Auggie!” I saw all my teachers in the aisle seats, Mr. Browne and Ms. Petosa and Mr. Roche and Mrs. Atanabi and Nurse Molly and all the others: and they were cheering for me, woo-hooing and whistling.

I felt like I was floating. It was so weird. Like the sun was shining full force on my face and the wind was blowing. As I got closer to the stage, I saw Ms. Rubin waving at me in the front row, and then next to her was Mrs. G, who was crying hysterically—a happy crying— smiling and clapping the whole time. And as I walked up the steps to the stage, the most amazing thing happened: everyone started standing up. Not just the front rows, but the whole audience suddenly got up on their feet, whooping, hollering, clapping like crazy. It was a standing ovation. For me.

I walked across the stage to Mr. Tushman, who shook my hand with

both his hands and whispered in my ear: “Well done, Auggie.” Then he placed the gold medal over my head, just like they do in the Olympics, and had me turn to face the audience. It felt like I was watching myself in a movie, almost, like I was someone else. It was like that last scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope when Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca are being applauded for destroying the Death Star. I could almost hear the Star Wars theme music playing in my head as I stood on the stage.

I wasn’t even sure why I was getting this medal, really. No, that’s not true. I knew why.

It’s like people you see sometimes, and you can’t imagine what it would be like to be that person, whether it’s somebody in a wheelchair or somebody who can’t talk. Only, I know that I’m that person to other people, maybe to every single person in that whole auditorium.

To me, though, I’m just me. An ordinary kid.

But hey, if they want to give me a medal for being me, that’s okay. I’ll take it. I didn’t destroy a Death Star or anything like that, but I did just get through the fifth grade. And that’s not easy, even if you’re not me.

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