wheelchair confidentialI spent a month planning what to say at my high school graduation and then I spent that week memorizing every word. Public speaking freaked me out, especially in front of the whole school. On the day of, I rushed through my morning routine knowing I wanted extra time to look nice but not be late. Lots of my family had arrived, and we were heading to a buffet brunch before the ceremony.

Feeling good, I ate a ton of waffles, pasta, and fresh seafood and drank all the champagne my aunt kept sneaking me. As we wrapped up, my stomach felt off. I figured it was nerves, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt my insides flip. As my mom helped me put on my robe in the parking lot, I leaned forward and felt a chill as I passed gas loudly. In that second, I went from worrying about forgetting my speech to worrying that I was going to crap my pants.

I anxiously sat and prayed for my body to cooperate until it was my turn to get on stage. I held my breath as I rolled up and they lowered the mic down to my height and closer to my midsection. I ended up only forgetting a few words … my stomach kept quiet, and I got a free lesson in digestion on my graduation day.

—Cy O’Relief

Chasing Fai