Existence 01 - Existence
tilt always made me nervous. I braced myself. She was about to let me have it. I’d been a jerk, but in my defense it wasn’t like I did any damage. I’d made fun of the reigning king, not someone with low self-esteem.
“Apparently, there is a young man who has a learning disability and was told to seek you out for extra tutoring. You did sign up to tutor this year for extra credit. My question is: why, Pagan, would you not help a student at your school who struggles with something as serious as dyslexia? The boy, I’m told, has the opportunity to be given a scholarship on his athletic abilities, but his handicap requires he get extra help in certain classes. He needs someone to help him put the speeches he must write on paper. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask. You did say you wanted to tutor this year. Explain to me why you chose to tell this boy no, and I’m telling you now it had better be good.” She leaned back and crossed her arms over her chest, in her “I’m waiting” stance.
Leif suffered from dyslexia? Was this a joke? I’d been going to school with him most of my life. Girls, Miranda included, knew everything about him. Heck, Miranda once told me exactly where his birthmark happened to be located.
Not that I cared. How could Leif Montgomery have dyslexia and no one know it?
I thought back to Leif asking me for help in the lunchroom today and the way I’d acted. The revelation that Leif dealt with something like dyslexia and still managed to make such good grades bothered me. I wasn’t sure why, exactly, but it did. I liked thinking of him as a jock. Someone who managed to get heaps of good fortune dumped on his head. Now all I could think about was the way he looked today when he’d come to ask me for help. A sick knot settled in the pit of my stomach.
I glanced up at my mom and shook my head slowly, “I had no idea he had a learning disability. He’s always so cocky and sure of himself. I was surprised he came to me for help and I immediately questioned why he, of all people, would need help.”
Mom leaned forward on the bar and her frown eased some. “Well, you can make it right. I’ve raised a more compassionate child than that.”
I nodded and reached for my book bag, “I know and I’m sorry. I’ll fix it.”
She seemed appeased. “I don’t like getting calls from school about you. Especially not when I’m writing an intense murder scene.”
I smiled and put my glass into the dishwasher before turning back to her. “Sorry, I’ll try to remember that. Um, so, second date then with this Roger guy?”
She blushed. “Yes, he and I seem to be able to talk for hours. I love his mind and he has traveled all over the world. My mind is always turning when he talks of places and things I’ve never seen.”
She shrugged, “You know me, I’m always thinking of a story behind everything.”
I raised my eyebrows and leaned close to her. “And he’s a hottie.”
She giggled, which was not a normal sound for my mom to make. “Oh, now that’s not why I like him. It’s his mind and the conversation.”
I laughed out loud. “Sure it is, Mom, you just keep telling yourself that lie.”
“Okay fine, he’s rather attractive.”
“Mom, he’s a hottie and you know it. Granted, he’s an old hottie, but still.”
“He’s not old. He’s my age.”
I watched her attempt to appear hurt before she gave in and laughed. “Fine, I’m old. Your money will be on the counter when you’re ready to order some pizza.”
Staying home by myself wasn’t something I enjoyed. When I’m alone the souls I see wandering aimlessly bother me. Especially since I’d actually chatted with one today. It was easier to remind myself they were harmless when they were mute. Now, I was a little freaked out. Once I closed my bedroom door, I grabbed the cell out of my pocket and called Miranda.
* * * *
“Let me see if I’ve got this straight.” Miranda sat on the couch with a piece of pizza in her hand and a soda between her legs, staring at me. “Leif ‘rocking-hot-make-you-melt’ Montgomery asked you to help him in Speech and you turned him down? Are you as insane as I think you are? I mean really, Pagan, I thought the insaneness you so often flash about was just for show and deep down you did have some common sense.”
I slapped a piece of pizza down on the plate in front of me in frustration. “I’m going to fix it in the morning. It isn’t like I robbed
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