“First Day of School”
Martha sat at a desk in the corner of the living room staring across at the empty chair on the opposite side of the desk. This desk was the “Kent School House” where Martha taught and learned from Ryanna. The lessons had begun soon after Clark had cured Alexis of the fever that was killing her and the Ryanna persona was born. Martha would sit and quickly try to refresh her memories about things that Ryanna was to learn as Ryanna read text book after text book. Then they would begin their daily discussions of history, literature and philosophy. How quickly this day had come. Linda was finally in a school with children her own age. Martha wouldn’t know until Linda returned home that afternoon whether she would start out as a freshman or sophomore. Hopefully she wouldn’t be sent to Middle School. Martha knew that the school had nothing to offer her in math or science studies or anything other than social skills. Both Martha and Jon had warned her that showing off her knowledge in front of other students would only lead to them being jealous of her and less friendly towards her. She hoped Linda understood what they told her and would learn how to balance how much she revealed of herself to others at school. She also hoped that Linda would find a way to not become bored with school lessons aimed at normal students. She wanted most of all for her daughter to be happy, but she couldn’t help but feel empty without her daughter’s constant companionship. Martha had put up a brave front when they dropped Linda off at school and took pictures to remember the day by. All things considered, Martha had done pretty well at holding back the tears until she could be alone. Now she was trying to be patient … patient for that yellow bus to come down the road with its precious cargo.
Finally the bus pulled up. Linda jumped off the bus and ran to the front door where her Mother greeted her with a big hug. Martha had grown used to Linda’s blonde hair and was still a little surprised to see her wearing the red wig. Martha said that she and Jon would wait in the kitchen while she changed clothes. They wanted to hear all about her big day over some cold milk and warm cookies.
Between dunking and eating cookies, Linda tried her best to describe her first day of school. She said, “I think it went really well, but it wasn’t at all like I thought it would be. I thought I would be with kids my own age and have only one teacher at a time. Instead, the only kids I saw were on the bus coming home and, if the soldier had gotten his way, I would have come home in a car with my teachers. I also thought I would have time to eat my lunch, but I had to eat it on the bus ride home – and I only got half. Everybody had friends they knew to sit with so I sat with a boy no one wanted to sit with and he whined about being hungry until I gave him half my lunch. I wasn’t too disappointed about not having friends on the bus because I expected it. But I didn’t think that each student got that many teachers to themselves. That must be why taxes are so high – that and those helicopters must cost some money too!”
Jon said, “I didn’t understand some of what you said so we have to go over it again. I knew that the school was going to evaluate you so I thought you might not get into a classroom right away, but the testing shouldn’t have taken all day. You’ll probably be in with other kids tomorrow.”
Linda said, Oh, I don’t think so, but maybe the teachers will tell you when they get here. I think they were waiting for the mitt man to get here. They said they have a special education in mind for me.”
Martha asked, “Who’s coming?”
Linda answered, “Fifteen or more of my teachers to talk about their plans for my future. Hmmm. I wonder if Jor-El was a teacher on Krypton because he had plans for me too.”
Jon said, “Fifteen?! Before we get to that, did you act dumb when they tested you?”
Linda said, “No. I answered the best I could. There were no other kids around so I didn’t have to worry about them getting jealous or not liking me. I didn’t show off or brag or anything. I just did my best. They put me on a really slow computer. It would only allow me to answer about 2 questions a second, so that slowed me down a lot. I had to do it twice with a different test and a different computer the second time because they thought the first one was broken. But that second one was just as slow. They said I did perfect but they said I missed the charts.”
Jon asked, “Did they say “missed” the charts or “off” the charts.
Linda answered, “It was “off” but what’s the difference? If I was off them, I must have missed them. And I overheard them talking about me. I know you told me I can’t play sports in school but I think they want me to. You’d better tell them I can’t when they show up.”
Jon asked, “What kind of sports?”
Linda answered, “I think it was baseball. They did that thing adults do where they spell a word that they don’t want to say. They spelled out “mitt” but they spelled it wrong with one “T” so I think they want to get me into a baseball mitt.”
Jon said, “Oh, no!”
Linda said, “Don’t worry, Daddy, I won’t play baseball. Especially baseball because I overheard what you said about not wanting boys to get to bases with me. They really do want me to play though. They said they would pay all my expenses if I got into a mitt. I am too young to be drafted, aren’t I Daddy?”
Jon asked, “Why?”
Linda said, “A lot of my afternoon teachers wore military uniforms. They were from the branch of the military that protects homes and land. It’s good that they have people around to protect the land.”
Martha said, “What exactly happened today?”
Linda answered, “I took the two tests on the slow computers. Then they had teachers questioning me. I got along with all of them but the math teacher. He didn’t like it when I corrected him. So he got my physics and calculus teachers in to convince me that he was right, but they made the same mistakes. I showed them what they were doing wrong. Then they left and I talked to other teachers about history, literature, politics, comparative religion, philosophy and animal husbandry. Then the math teachers came back with a professor from Metropolis University. He was from China and had trouble speaking English so I talked with him in Mandarin Chinese instead. He showed me some equations and asked me to fix them and complete them if I could. So I did and he got excited. That’s when they started talking about getting me into a mitt. Then the men in uniforms started showing up and talking about a special education for me and about special intelligence and secret homework –assignments that they would want me to do for the good of the United Stated. One of those guys didn’t want me going home on the bus because I might fall into someone’s hands. I told them that I have excellent balance and wouldn’t even fall over on an icy field in a tornado, so they let me come home on the bus. I looked up at one of the helicopters following the bus home and saw the man inside the helicopter – the man who didn’t want me riding the bus. I didn’t know Smallville had helicopters to follow the buses home. That’s really strange that they can afford helicopters but the buses don’t even have seat belts!”
There was a loud knock on the front door. Linda turned to look to see who was outside. She said, “Uh-oh! Better hide the cookies or make more. There are about 40 teachers out there!”
Martha covered her mouth with both hands. Jon put his head down on the table. Linda took a cookie in each hand, dunked them and ate.