by Tyler Brigham
Andy sat, pale as a ghost, his face dry as chalk. His hands were sweaty and his lip quivered.
“Andrew?” Miss Kliemein’s voice cut through the air, sharpened by years of bitterness.
Andrew jolted as if wakened from a dream.
“Andrew?” He looked up. He was surrounded. Thirty some-odd kids, their eyes gleaming, and faces taunting. They smelled blood and were determined to make Andy their meal.
“Come on ‘Handy-Andy’! It’s your turn!” Andy looked to Miss Kliemein for help, but found none.
Andy stood slowly, unsure of his ability to stand. His legs shook, yet they felt solid and immovable. Each step resounded in his mind. Each step grew in power, until it shook the room. Each step brought him closer to his fate. Heads turned. Their eyes followed him. They dug into him and slowed him down. The room began to heat up. Snickers were heard from his audience.
He moved his hand and with trembling fingers picked up his weapon. His eyes met with those of his audience. Quickly he turned away, ashamed that he looked at them. He shut his mind; it was just him and his opponent, him and his fate.
The air was thick and silence descended upon the room. He waited… Then with a deep breath he took the plunge. His hand raised and he began to scrawl on the board. The grating noise startled him, but he kept focused. He could feel the condemnation from the crowd saying: “Who do you think you are? You think you can just go up there and do what you’re doing? Listen to you! Do you have any idea how much noise you are making? Sit down before we take you down!”
But Andy was no longer there. He had left long ago; he was in a different world now. It looked quite the same as the one he had been in, but he could feel a difference. The world was no longer oppressive, it was not condemning, but rather it was not the contrary either. The world existed in a sort of limbo.
Andrew took his seat. He had defeated his enemy. The oppression that once existed was now gone. He had defeated his enemy and changed his world. What he wrote on the chalk board was the key to his change. He had written the answer to his problem in a new form. The chalk was his corner stone, the blackboard his foundation.
To everyone’s surprise the bell rang “Bzzzzzzzzz!!!” But Andrew knew it would happen. He ran out the door right into his mother’s arms. He was in a state of calm.
“How was your day today?”
“It was great! Miss Kliemein asked me to do a math problem on the board today!”
“Oh really! And what problem was that?”
“Two plus Two”
“And what did you get?”
“The only real answer: Five”