Owen’s knee rapidly goes up and down, like a piston in a sports car powered by nervousness. His eyes scan the room at a consistent pace. Nobody pays attention to him, but he feels they know everything he does.
“Grace? What is 38 multiplied by 27?”
“Grace already has her notebook flipped open for scratch paper. She writes out the equation. Calculates the answer and says, “1026.”
“Correct! Sharp as a tack.” Mrs. Hazel sings at her favorite student. Grace happens to be Owen’s favorite student too. He admires everything about her. Her long hair, how it shines under the dim yellow school lights as if a ray of sunshine seeps through the building and casts a radiant glow over her. When Grace smiles she almost closes her eyes. Her charm empties Owen of all worries and his entire body surges with what he can only describe as electricity. Whenever Grace presents to the class he is mesmerized by her crystal blue eyes. Sometimes Owen wonders if she is an evolved human one thousand years ahead of her time.
“Hmmm…” Mrs. Hazel looks at Owen and wiggles her finger at him. “You know Mr. Peterson it’s been a long time since you raised your hand to answer a question. In fact I recall always having to pick on you because you never once raise your hand. Answer me this using our last answer. What is 1026 divided by 16? He picks up his pencil and writes the equation. The class stares idly waiting for his answer. Owen’s brain is locked. There’s too much attention focused on him. He can’t remember how to do long division.
“We are waiting Mr. Peters.”
“Come on just give up on me and ask someone else.” Owen thinks to himself repeatedly. “You’re holding up the class. We will continue to wait until you give us an answer.”
“She’s stupid! How am I the one holding up the class.” He decides to just give her a rough guess. “Almost twenty but not quite.” He counts on his fingers under the table. “2,4,6,8,10. If ten’s one thousand…” He can feel the classes irritation build. “He’s retarded can’t we just throw him in a special class and move on.” One kid blurts out. Chuckles are dispersed through out the class. “Hush Corey.” Corey rolls his eyes. He sighs and just as he was going to give the incorrect answer 73 as a guess. He looks at Grace and she’s mouthing the answer. “Uhh, S-sixty four point o-n-e twenty f-five.” Mrs. Hazel smiles. “Well it looks like the tortoise wins another race.” The class laughs. He pays no mind because Grace smiles and winks at him. Then turns her head towards the teacher.
Owen’s face turns red and possibly the widest smile he’s ever had appears on his face. Those classmates that looked back at him just assumed he was laughing along with everyone. But he wasn’t in the same room as them. Owen wasn’t even on the same planet as them. He was in another dimension in his mind. It was just him and Grace replaying the same scenario but adding and subtracting certain details. He had no Anxiety. The classroom was filled with faceless children. The connection between him and grace was so powerful it could be compared to the gravitational force from the Earth and the Moon.
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