Here is a short story I wrote for an education class final project:
There was something special about being the biggest introvert in Ms. Browning’s class. She let us choose our seats after the first month, so of course I picked one against the wall, near the back. It was the perfect spot to be invisible, and no one even thinks to talk to quiet little Anna. It wouldn’t be easy to, anyways, since the empty desks around mine formed a protective moat. For the first half of the semester, I was the happiest I could ever be in the boring-est class imaginable.
Then the unthinkable happened. We got two new students, and of course the only empty desks in the class were right by me. They invaded my sanctuary and threatened to disturb the peace.
For a couple of minutes, it seemed like I could get used to these invaders, like maybe they’d be so quiet I could forget their presence and go on surreptitiously reading my books when Ms. Browning was lecturing about foiling equations and other stuff I’ve known since I was like two. Honestly, I was learning more math from reading The Hunger Games than from her class.
In front of me slouched Richard Anderson. His sandy blonde hair was, as they say, perfectly coiffed. From the brief glance he gave me when he walked down the aisle, I knew that his eyes were the bluest I’d ever seen. Without a doubt, over half the girls in the class were already crushing on him big time. He was like Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter, only without the whole evil vibe.
George Velasquez chose the desk to my left, and a glance told me he and Richard were complete opposites. His bright red shirt and blue suede shoes stood out in a classroom full of white tees and your standard converse sneakers. With slightly messy black hair and tan skin that glowed from absorbing hours of sun, he was more of a Jacob Black from Twilight. Whereas Richard leaned back and glanced at the other students, George arranged his notebooks and textbook carefully on his desk and leaned forward with his eyes focused on the whiteboard and a smile on his face.
Ten minutes before class ended, Ms. Browning stopped talking and let us get to work on the bazillion problems we had for homework while she plodded up the backpack-strewn row and knelt down next to George.
I ripped out a sheet of notebook paper, being careful to tear it along the perforated line, and labeled the top of my page with my name, the class period, and the date like a diligent student, but really I was eavesdropping. Ms. Browning asked, “George, would you tell me what you already know of Algebra?”
His hand snaked forward to the Spanish-English dictionary he had kept flipping through during the whole lecture, but she stopped him with a hand over his. “You don’t need to use the book,” she prompted with an encouraging smile. “Just tell me where you are.”
He looked wistfully at his dictionary, but answered painstakingly, “Estoy en la escuela—I is…sc—school.”
Her face contorted into a pitying mask of compassion, and she nodded. “Okay, they must have told you to come to the wrong class. I’ll get this all sorted out,” she assured him, rising to move over to Richard’s desk, where she repeated the same process.
“Richard, how far along are you in Algebra?” she inquired.
Richard gave her a winning smile and opened his mouth to reveal a perfect British accent. “S’alright, ma’am. I understood today’s lesson quite well. I always got high marks in my Maths classes in England.”
Ms. Browning’s face lost its concerned pinch and smoothed into a pleased smile. “I’m glad to hear it. You let me know if you need help at any time, though.” Without further ado, she ambled back to the front of the room.
Now I was way too distracted to even think about actually doing my homework. As soon as she had left him, I’d watched as George opened the dictionary and looked at the problems on the textbook page. The first fifty or so were standard, simple equations, which was nice because it meant we didn’t have as many word problems that night. By the time the interview with Richard was over, George’s pencil was flying across his notebook paper as he worked out the problems. I leaned a couple inches closer to peak at his answers, and then worked out a couple of the problems on my own. Much to my astonishment, his answers were spot-on. My mental calculation of his math abilities went from teenage werewolf to Sherlock Holmes.
Richard waited until Ms. Browning picked up the super old telephone (it was one that still had one of those curly cords attaching it to the wall) to call the office, then he swiveled to face me. “Hello. I’m Richard, Richard Anderson,” he held out a hand.
As much as I did not want to engage in conversation, I grudgingly took his hand. “I’m Anna Huyn,” I muttered. The second he ended our shake, I ducked my head, hoping he’d get the memo that I wanted to do homework, not socialize. I really just wanted to listen to Ms. Browning’s conversation with the office.
No such luck. “Did you catch a bit of that lecture?” he asked. “I’m feeling a bit barmy here. My old maths class was nothing like this. The professor must be mad.”
“Hm,” I gave an unconvincing grunt of agreement, hoping that met the requirement for my end of the conversation.
“You look clever. Any chance you could tutor me after class?” he continued.
If it would get him to leave me alone right then? Sure. I shrugged. “I guess.”
“Brilliant!” He flashed me a smile full of straight white teeth and turned back around just in time for me to catch the end of Ms. Browning’s conversation.
“That’s what I’m saying, Patricia,” she told whoever was on the other end. “The poor boy doesn’t even understand a word of English. He can’t learn high school Algebra if he doesn’t know basic math, even. He needs to be transferred into the remedial class. It’s for his own good, so he won’t fall behind.”
The bell rang, and the shuffling of papers, zipping of backpacks, and clamber of students starting chatting as they went to lunch drowned out anything else that Ms. Browning was saying. I packed my things with a thoughtful frown, my hands doing their jobs by memory while my mind was elsewhere. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the wrong person was being transferred out of our class, and that I was witnessing an injustice just as great as any book I’ve read, only this one was real life. Right before I zipped my backpack, I slipped my book inside. This lunch break, what I had to observe was even more interesting than the corruption of Brave New World—it was the corruption of my very own Lincoln High.
As someone who has never liked having her picture taken, the hardest part about Dressember for me is taking a picture every day. It’s more than just a dress or a picture, though. Dressember is aligning with International Justice Mission to raise funds for supporting victims of slavery. To date, Dressember participants have raised over $100,000 for IJM! Would you like to help in the recovery of someone rescued from human trafficking? Donate here: https://www.ijmfreedommaker.org/campaign/2552/Dressember-for-IJM/
(I forgot to take a picture this day, but I did wear a dress.)
(Yes, those are awesome Hunger Games socks, a gift from one of my friends):