T _ ME
By Alex Jennings
The portable classroom was larger than Joan Ellen had expected. Lit from overhead with fluorescent lights and busy with seventh-grade artwork, it smelled of chalk dust, old books, and refrigerated air. It reminded Joan Ellen of home. These days, most everything reminded Joan Ellen of home – or at least how far she was from it. She tried to pay attention, but now Joan felt the yawning chasm of distance, the thousands upon thousands of miles between Tunis and DC.
“I’ll put this as simply as I can,” Mrs. Thornton said. “Patrick is a brilliant boy.”
Liz Thornton was Patrick’s homeroom teacher. She was a heavy-set fortyish woman with close-cropped brown hair and a mouth that bunched up at the corners. Like many of the teachers here at ACST, Mrs. Thornton had come overseas with the Peace Corps, married, and stayed.
“I had a hard time getting through to him in our first few weeks together,” Mrs. Thornton said, “but I think his last essay assignment represents a breakthrough. He – I have it here.”
The teacher opened a manila folder on her desk blotter and handed Joan a short typed manuscript crawling with red pen marks.
Joan Ellen frowned as her eyes slid over the heading at the top of the page:
What Comes After Science? (Continue Reading…)