Meeting expectations

The little girl's brilliance was undeniable, casting a spell over everyone around her. Her parents watched her, eyes wide with wonder, as she effortlessly solved puzzles that stumped children many years older. They couldn't contain their pride, often remarking in hushed, excited tones, "You're extraordinary!"

These words, spoken with such casual certainty, wove themselves into the fabric of her identity. In her mind, she wasn't just smart; she was a beacon of brilliance, a destined trailblazer. Every achievement, every accolade, reinforced this image.

But as the years passed, the gap between her and her peers started to close. Those who had lagged behind were now at her heels, and then, before she knew it, walking beside her. They, too, had their moments of brilliance, their flashes of genius. Some even began to outshine her.

The girl, now a young woman, found herself floundering in a sea of average. The praise that once flowed so freely dried up, replaced by an unspoken expectation she could no longer meet. She was no longer the prodigy, the wonder child, the future world-changer. She was just... ordinary.

And while the world seemed to have forgotten the prophecies of her childhood, she could not. Each night, she lay in the quiet darkness, unable to face her own reflection, not because of what she saw, but because of what she didn’t see – the extraordinary person she was supposed to become.