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The Awakening

There was once a small, green-eyed child who was born with the wrong brain. She made her living teaching college seniors advanced mathematics and string theory; she read academic journals to pass the time; she dined upon smoked halibut and sipped sparkling grape juice (if only she could drink Champagne) with her colleagues at monthly dinner meetings. She was smart than every professor she worked with, and her social skills greatly outmatched theirs’. She had the brains and the charms that could incite jealousy or create undying love in whoever she met.

At the tender age of eight, with her skills, her job, and all of her money, it’s not wonder that Ramona was miserable.

It wasn’t always this way. Before her “true awakening,” as she called it, Ramona was delighted to be different from the children her age. In preschool, she eagerly flipped through Ulysses instead of napping. She laughed gleefully when she discovered that most of her playmates couldn’t read anything, let along her favorite literature. Quickly, Ramona’s caretakers caught on; before she could fall pretty to jealous bullying, she was pulled from preschool. Her parents patted her on the head fondly, hired her special tutors, bought her a whole library of new books, and said they had “always known” she was a prodigy. Ramona could tell this was a lie, but was glad they were finally showering her with the attention that most children received unconditionally.

At five years of age, it became apparent that Ramona was much smarter than her tutors (who had never met such a child in all of their experience). She was inventing her own mathematical theorems, writing a novel every month, conduction physics labs in her bathroom, and modifying the songs of Mozart and Bach on the piano. Ramona’s tutors quit, encouraging her parents to call up the Ivy League schools and ask about open positions.

The students were shocked the first day of Ms. Ardell’s Physics 101 when a tiny five-year-old with her dark hair in a bun greeted them and chalked her first name on the board, perched on a stool so she could reach it.

“Call me Ramona, please. Formalities are useless communication barriers; don’t you agree?”
The class sat dumbfounded. After a long, awkward silence, a young man in the back asked, “Is this some kind of joke?”

That was the moment of Ramona’s awakening. The moment she realized that, no matter her maturity, no matter her intelligence, she would never be taken seriously. She was either a success story or a joke, but never just a smart girl who knew a lot about a lot of things. She saw that teaching would not be as enjoyable as she had expected.

Oh, well. She would ignore the man’s statement and begin the lesson, pretending that the whole class were not frozen in their chairs, with eyes fixed upon her as though she were a mutant insect.



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