Chapter 8: The Word
The bell rings at 3:30pm with the usual rhythm, showing no trace of the knowledge of the days events. Ilona herself is surprised that she survived the rest of the day at all, especially without hazarding a detention. Her concentration is nowhere near whatever topic is being discussed in the ever so boring classroom. Swimming with the ever more important facts and figures she has been exposed to at lunch and recess, no more room exists that day, and possibly forever, for any of this arcane and useless knowledge taught in school. Especially information from the now universally acknowledged awful Mr. Micheals.
She thought for sure her daydreaming disinterest was plainly obvious to all, and kept mentally checking herself back into her current reality of schoolwork. Complicating matters is the occasional giggle or wave or tongue stuck out or eye rolling, all directed her way by Clara, who possesses the superpower of never getting caught.
Ilona stands up, gathering her books, and tried to remember what the homework assigned just a few minutes before is. In a blink that startles her, she suddenly has Clara beside her, followed several rows behind by Susan.
“You are a rock.” Clara stage whispers, while glancing at Mr. Micheals, who is busy clearing the blackboards. It is almost as if she is daring trouble to befall her. “You never flinched once, no matter how deep I dug into my bag of tricks.”
Susan finally is with them, gently grabbing both their arms, and escorts the duo out into the safety of the hallway.
“My record of having you avoid detention by annoying Mr. Micheals is relatively intact. Not that you make that job easy by any stretch. Whispering that loud is very subtle. More than that acrostic you did in that essay that time.” Susan keeps glancing over her shoulder, even in the now crowded hallway, seemingly on the look out for the evil Mr. Micheals.
“That was fun! The fool never figured it out. Maybe he hasn’t learned to read yet?” Clara laughs.
“What’s an acros sick…” Ilona does not know the word, much less how to pronounce it. The fact that she is no longer shocked by the Mr. Micheals hate barely registers. Her friend has said a new word, and to learn this is far more important than being proper and respectful to so-called authority.
“That is when the first letter in each paragraph forms a word. I taught the concept to Clara,” Susan turns and looks with a smile at their friend who was sticking her tongue out yet again, “Much to my chagrin.”
“It was a good word. Spelled correctly and everything. Summed up that twit perfectly.” Clara smiles as well, very proudly.
“We are talking about Clara’s acrostic again?” Collette asks as she, Cynthia and Madison converge on them.
“I advised against it. But I give Clara full points for her creativity,” Cynthia almost betrays a smile. Ilona has the feeling Mr. Micheal’s popularity is low with everyone at SummerFall.
“IT WAS WICKED!” Madison exclaims, and proceeds to high five Clara with a massively loud smack. Ilona wonders if Madison could ever do a high five without almost breaking bones.
“What was the word anyway?” Ilona inquires, wondering what nasty thing Clara had hidden in her message.
“LEMME TELL HER! LEMME TELL HER!” Madison is shouting with excitement, waving her arms in the air, and hopping on one spot. How she does this without smacking anyone around her in the crowded hallway amazes Ilona. She also now knew the word has to be good.
“Fine, go ahead. You were good today in class so you deserve a reward.” Cynthia gives a maternal smile of approval to Madison.
With permission granted, Madison zips the few paces up to Ilona, stops impossibly just short of slamming into her, than proceeds to lean into Ilona’s ear. A tingle went up her spine again. A secret whispered into your ear is precious, especially by a friend, or even better, a new friend. The only other people who had ever cupped her ear like this were her parents, playfully, when she was younger. But this is different. This feels real.
Ilona’s ear has a single word, very clearly and well spoken, enter it. It is a word that makes her eyes pop open and mouth go wide. A word never uttered by her ever, even in private, or after she bangs her big toe, or anytime at all. It is a bad word.
And for some strange reason, as the shock of it is still passing through her system, she feels honoured to be entrusted with this forbidden knowledge. This word, if ever told to Mr. Micheals, would cause detentions and parents called in and a meeting with the principal.
The sad part is, it would all be wrong.
Mr. Micheals was a bad teacher and a bad man, a thought she had already prescribed to in her own mind, but now armed with this mutual knowledge of universal dislike, bordering on hatred, she felt that Clara’s word fit, and fit well. She should be applauded, never punished, for speaking the truth how best she could for grade five.
A tinge of rebellion forms, causing her eyes to close to slits and her mouth to close to a smirk.
“Good.” Ilona states with agreement to the word.
Madison and Clara cheer with this pronouncement. Collette and Susan roll their eyes. And Cynthia just looks on bemused.
“Group high five!” Clara declares.
“In the middle of the all these people? I think that would be hard. I’m surprised we haven’t caused a commotion yet.” Cynthia looks around warily.
“Okay, everyone grab yer stuff!” Madison exclaims.
Each girl scurried away quickly to get their things, and a few minutes later they are gathered outside.
“Everyone is here! Group high five!” Madison shouts, already leading the way.
Ilona needs no help this time. She jumps right in and smacks hands. And the fact this is because she approved of one of her friends actions, something disobedient, that had happened some untold time in the past, is not lost on her.
Her new friends value her opinion.
Song For This Chapter: Revolution by The Beatles.
The Passport To The Wall is Copyright 2013 to Paul Riches
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First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.