Tuesday, April 13, 2010

To Robert

I'll admit, as I walked up to the podium my heart was racing.
I listened as the Student Life Coordinator introduced me to the audience and I took a deep breath. "Let me present our last speaker, and final candidate for the position of Student Trustee for the Los Rios Community College District...Risa Farrell."
I placed my outline on the podium, paused, and looked out over the cafeteria full of noisy, talking students. Students eating, students laughing, students strumming guitars and playing card games. Students studying, students memorizing, students comparing notes. I have always been one of those students, but today, for a few, short, beautiful moments...I got to speak to all of them. My eyes glided over the many, many faces, but one, smiling and encouraging, sat beaming up at me.


What a surprise to see him! A friend from photography class last semester, I recognized him immediately when he peered into the Student Life office where I was preparing my speech. I jumped up to say hi, and rather surprised to see him again, asked if he worked there. No, he laughed, he'd come to hear me speak. I couldn't believe it! Completely surprised and feeling rather honored, I asked how he'd known I was speaking today. "I'm a fan of yours," he said, "I read your blog."

All the nervousness that had been building, all the anxiety about speaking to a bunch of noisy peers, all the worries about being asked hard questions and not having the answers...all those butterflies of apprehension disappeared. My friend was here! Last semester, we had talked about photographic techniques, experimented with various creative styles, laughed about silly panoramic class projects, and bounced ideas off each other for our final projects. And though I thought I'd never see him again, here he was! Come to hear me speak and encourage me on! I wanted to hug him.

I'll admit, as I walked up to the podium my heart was racing.
But I looked over at Robert and met his gleaming eyes and a smile which seemed to shout, "You can do it! Go get 'em!" And I spoke. I really spoke. I got rather passionate, and had a really, *really* fun time up there. All the while, out of the corner of my eye, I could see Robert nodding, smiling and encouraging; bolstering me when I fished for a word or paused to reorganize my thoughts.

When I was finished, I had to take care of some administrative business, and by the time I finally made it out into the cafeteria, he was gone. Darn. So now, I don't know if you're reading this, and I don't know when I'll see you again, but you were an incredible support and I can't tell you how appreciative I am that you came to hear me. You totally made my day.

And so, if you are reading this...

...thank you.

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