The thin gold medal, looped with a blue silk ribbon laying across my palm was inscribed: “1st place, Interdepartmental Speech Competition.” The obverse: “Stetson University, 1904.”
I coveted this medal because last year I was the runner up to my best friend Paul Carter. I never placed first in any competition with Paul — be it academic, athletic, romantic — I was always second.
It’s a beautiful medal. I strove to win this medal. It was my own holy Grail. If I won, I reasoned, it might fill the hole in my soul that constantly nags at me to be beat Paul. To be number one.
Only now, as I hold the medal in my hand, I realize:
The hole in my soul is still there.
This holy medal isn’t enough.
Nothing may ever be enough.
I close my hand over the medal for a moment; I drop it in the wastebasket.