It was cold last night, and I was exhausted and near collapse when I walked in through the front door. The apartment was dark, empty, and I trudged through the living room into the kitchen where I dumped my bag and flicked on the light. Ho hum, pile of mail, I thought, and began flicking through the letters in my desultory way.

Halfway through the pile was a battered envelope, with my name written on the front in my own careful handwriting (I can type nearly 90 wpm, but write like a drunk child due to lack of practice and impatience). A response! The envelope had been bent around the edges of the letter contained within, which I could tell was thin, insubstantial. Another card, I guessed, thanking me for my submission but politely declining. It’s something I learned when applying for college: fat envelope means yes, skinny one means no. The envelope I was holding was positively anorexic.

So I opened it and pulled out a rich, creamy sheet of paper, folded in thirds. Ah, I thought glumly, from Writers House. Well, let’s see. I opened it up and skimmed the short paragraph, searching for the ‘no thank you’. Instead, I read a polite request to see the first fifty pages.

Writers House! A partial! I blinked, scrubbed my face, read it slowly, took a deep breath, read it again. Fantastic! A wild shot in the dark that had come through! I grinned, looked around the empty apartment, trying to think of whom I could call, with whom I could share this amazing information.

And of course I called me mum 😉