Ladies First: Chapter 2

Ladies First: Chapter 2

Cara M., Student Writer

John crept into the office, “What did I do?” he asked himself, “I follow every rule. Are my grades bad? Am I going to get expelled?!” His eyes showed fear, his posture slouched.

 “Ah, John Miles, just the man I want to see,” the headmaster said. His tone was friendly, but his eyes had fire in them. John’s eyes were on the ground and didn’t look up until he spoke.

“I’m h-,”he stared aghast at the person sitting in the seat in front of the headmaster,” Is that a girl?!”

“Yes. Unfortunately she has decided to grace this school with her presence. AND she wants to challenge the school to see if she is smart enough to join it,” the sarcasm in his voice was so blatant that anyone could recognize it. “I’ve decided to make it a public demonstration. I figured that ‘Danielle’ would appreciate having the whole town see us be humiliated.” His malicious grin told otherwise. “I have decided to plan for it to be next week at the town hall meeting.

With that note, the headmaster gestured to the campus guards to show me the room that I will be staying in until next week.

***

The week passed as slow as a glacier moves. I was locked in my room, incredibly bored. They couldn’t exactly have an unauthorized 5 year old girl running around the school. Also the headmaster wouldn’t let me study, not that  I would, after all, I thought that all the knowledge in the world was stored in my mothers basement.

 ***

 I viewed the stage as a place where I would show the world that women aren’t dumb. I climbed onto the stage, my eyes shone with a fiery determination. I had combed her hair into long rolling waves, unlike the usual style, in a tight ponytail.

“Finally, a chance to change people’s perspective about girls,” I thought as the gazes of the whole town landed on me, though the absence of women and girls was strange.

The man who was testing us was wire thin and had steel frame glasses with a three piece gray suit. He looked like he could be whisked away by a small gust of wind.

John and I scaled the stairs together, and I quickly learned that his frail demeanor meant nothing. He was strict and wouldn’t let ANYONE speak out of line, that included the people watching too.

The questions started easy, like what is the square root of 2137? I almost laughed! EASY! 4566769, I answered as John answered too. He got 4565869. Total mistake, I could feel my victory coming in closer and closer with each question. But, that was until the science portion. I was ahead, 36 to 28, when Mr. Frail (Yes that is his name. I know hilarious, right?) asked, “Why is the sky blue?” I stared in horror at him as the seconds ticked down. I slowly realized that this wasn’t a joke. I had 5 seconds left to write down my answer, if I even had one. I glanced up at John Miles and saw a satisfied smile on his towering face.

 3…. 2…. 1…. John turned his board around and read out his answer, “The sky is blue due to a phenomenon called blah blah blah.” At least that’s what I’d heard.

I blinked as if someone had slapped me in the face. He was grinning like a maniac, the words had rushed out of his mouth. I could feel the heat reach my cheeks. I fumbled for words.

“The sky is is blue because…..becausssse…..”I closed my eyes as I flipped my board around. The blankness of it was daunting, I hung my head. Tears welled in the corner of my eyes, I blinked them away. I would never give Mr. Frail, the headmaster, John or anyone the satisfaction of seeing my cry.

I’m pretty sure that the grimace that was on his face was meant to be a smile? But the wicked tone clarified that this would go down in the college’s history-”The day a five year old girl got crushed in a competition by an 18 year old man.” Gee how very fair.

“WRONG!!” he cackled in delight, he finally showed some emotion. (Honestly, I was quite worried that he was a zombie.) He had seen the tear on my face. I muttered about how I hated him under my breath.

He marked down the point for Miles, the screech rang in my ear.

For the rest of the competition I was in a daze. Every question slipped past my brain, every answer – wrong, the fact that it was the science section, did not help at all. I could feel my victory slipping away, like a melting ice cube. My heart grew heavy in my chest, I realized what I had done. I had set the bar even lower for women, I could barely even crawl under it to begin with. When I had that final thought, I couldn’t bare it anymore. I dashed down the stairs and slipped through the crowd.

When I was out of the crowd running down the street, I heard Mr. Frail call, “And that is why boys are better than girls, they stand their ground and fight, all the way to the end, and win. “

All the tears that I had been holding back flooded out. They wouldn’t stop. That sentence, was enough to crush anyone.