The consolation prize

The consolation prize is nice to have.  It’s comforting and acknowledging.  Usually a gentle reminder of nearly rememberable adequacy, a moment of not-quite.

It doesn’t have the shine of a trophy; it never glitters in the sunlight and lacks the gleam of expense.  It never feels like the softest silk of a blue ribbon.  It certainly isn’t awarded on a podium – more often given in privacy, or sent in a box to a form-filled address.

It comes in many forms: a teddy bear with lacklustre fur, filled with cheap stuffing that falls from poorly formed stitches; a certificate with curling edges and smudged ink; or a gift voucher for a nameless store with nothing of worth.  Consolation prizes are received with a slumping smile, held limply between fingers…  often left behind or dropped, forgotten at the finish line or thrown out with the week’s rubbish.

I am the consolation prize.  I will never be the trophy, never be blue-ribbon quality.  I am poorly stitched and your name is misprinted on my surface.  I am the blanket worn thin by continual almosts and the never-a-chance.

I am the consolation prize: left behind, alone, and unwanted in the gutter.

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