A Very, Very Strange Day
By Silvaan Ruth
I sat at my desk, waiting for the principal to come in, as I ate my lunch. Don’t know why I am here in lunch detention. The teacher says I am not, but I am alone in my classroom, eating: lunch detention. I chew in peace as I look at the pale moon in the blue sky, dreaming for a moment about what it would be like to be on the surface. What would the stars look like, I thought, or the earth, for that matter, from the surface of the moon?
With a snap of the latch of the blue door, a stark contrast to the white walls, I jumped. The Principal entered. She was a strange woman, with a hunch at her mid back, her white hair in an old-fashioned bun, white cardigan with a white blouse under it, and dress and cane to match. She had silver framed glasses that rested on a face like a troll, with a silver chain attached to it that snaked around her neck. She walked in, slowly maneuvering through the desks to sit on the one in front of me, moving the chair to the side as she did so. She laid her free hand over the one clutching the white cane in front of her, resting her hunched frame on it. Her blue eyes made her face seem kind and inviting for being rather ugly.
Jane’s oval face and almond-shaped brown eyes looked at me sheepishly, her straight, dark brown hair flanking her face, shielding her from the world. Shifting in her chair, her grey hoodie twisted around her arms as she crossed them over her white t-shirt. Her feet jutted out to the left of my cane, her blue jeans twisted around her ankles as she crossed them, and her grey sneakers squeaked. Fully settling in her defiance, she looked out at the pale moon in the blue sky.
I smiled. “Do you know why I am here, child?”
She looked down and mumbled, “No.”
“You’re not doing your math work.”
She shrugged and mumbled, “So.”
I chuckled, “Why?” I coaxed.
She looked sad, “I’m not as good as everyone else. Not as fast or as smart.” She swung her head toward me, glancing up at my glasses for a moment. Looking down at her desk, she said, “Stupid, anyway. No one will ever really need to use it.”
I smiled as I chuckled, “But how ever will you reach the moon?”
Her head shot up, looking me in the eyes, confused. The question, ‘how did you know?’ written in her glare.
My chair rose, me still firmly in it screaming. “What the fuck is going on!” I looked at the principal, her eyes shone bright as if stars had replaced the orbs. I launched into the ceiling, straight through it, tumbling into darkness. I thought for sure my principal just killed me, if it weren’t for the sudden stop.
I looked down from where I landed from the edge of a gigantic crater; I knew instinctively that I was on the moon. I followed the curving edge of the chasm until I saw the earth. The sight reminded me to breathe as I gasped at its beauty. Crisp, blue sphere in the middle of a sea of black. I don’t know how, but I could see the clouds swirling along the surface like cottonwood seeds in a summer breeze.
It felt so ridiculous that I could breathe, or still be alive, for that matter. I looked down, placing the sole of my shoes on the ground. I could hear the soil crunch under my feet; that’s impossible, I thought, yet it was real. I started to giggle a little, and it steadily grew into a belly laugh. “Oh. My. God. What the fuck in going on! How am I alive?!” I squeaked. But wait, I thought. “If I am here, then maybe I could go to my favorite planet, Jupiter,” I thought aloud.
I settled in my seat, readying myself, clutching the sides of my chair until my knuckles were white. I closed my eyes, wishing with all my might to go to Jupiter. After a few practice rocks, I threw my weight into the back of the chair, launching myself into the darkness again.
With a thud, I opened my eyes. To see my teacher standing in front of me, I jumped. “Sorry, dear, didn’t mean to startle you.” She glanced at my lunch bag and empty sandwich box, her eyes narrowed and mouth pursed in a disapproving look.
I looked around at the students, unaware of her glare, wondering why I wasn’t on Jupiter. She cleared her throat; I looked at her. She angled her head down, glancing at my mess, glaring at me a little harder.
I jumped to gather it all, “Yes-yes, sorry.” I said. As I put my trash in my lunch bag, I thought, Did that just happen? Why would I imagine that?
In my periphery, as I put my lunch bag under my chair, I saw something white move. I looked, and I saw the principal standing in front of the closed door, looking at me with blue, human eyes. They were not the shining stars I saw in her eyes before. She pointed at me with a smile, and, leaning on her cane, mouthed, “Do your work.” She winked. As her eye opened again, a blackness as dark as the universe was revealed. Where an iris should be, lay the stars of a universe yet to be discovered. She walked through the door as if it weren’t there.
I sat there in stunned silence as the teacher gave instruction.
When all was quiet, I managed to gather myself, and took the math test. I got a C minus. You may think that’s horrible, but I never really bothered to take them before that very, very strange day.
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