I curl up in the molded plastic chair, the only student in the silent classroom, and happily scratch away at my composition notebook. One by one, lines are filled in with messy letters, my pencil lead (ahem, graphite) being worn closer and closer to the wood. If I had my way, this is how I’d spend a good chunk of my life. Unfortunately, my way is not the way of the world.
Another student walks in and takes the seat behind me. I regard him suspiciously out of the corner of my eye as he innocently takes out his math packet and begins to review it. Then I twist myself around, holding my notebook at an awkward angle, and resume writing. Now my handwriting acquires a cramped feel, listing dangerously to the side like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I persevere.
Another student comes in, sitting in front of me. Logically, he can’t see anything I’m writing. Still, I carefully position my notebook at the position of optimum secrecy – on my lap under the desk. Of course, this makes actually writing in it a bit of a chore. After all the squinting and straining, my eyes have gone rather blurry, and my writing hand is developing a cramp. A girl walks in and takes her position to my left, sparing a single contemptuous glance at my convoluted posture. I sigh and snap my notebook shut. Obviously this is going nowhere.
It’s a little ironic, if you think about it. Someday I hope to be a published author, my words on bookshelves everywhere for the world to read. And yet I’m more paranoid than Stalin whenever someone gets within a fifteen foot radius, scared stiff that they might actually catch a glimpse of a letter or two. I can’t really explain it myself. Perhaps it’s just that writing is a very private thing. You’re pulling these words out of your mind, and they’re completely yours. So excuse me if I don’t want a bunch of teenagers poking my precious notebook and asking “What’s that?”
My reply, of course, would be an eloquent gesture of wrenching my composition book away, slamming it shut, and stowing it securely in my backpack. Only then would I say, “You’ll see eventually.” Just to cement my reputation as the local psycho. Wouldn’t want anyone doubting that.