Note: Thanks for putting up with my insanity.
At that moment, the glass door swung open and slammed shut.
Secretary A gave a wry nod towards Secretary B, who quickly glanced up. No one could look away once Zach entered the room—
And the moment he walked through that door, Gentry’s heart skipped a beat.
He looked him over once, peered down, then stole another look. He licked at his dry lips, and began drawing circles on his notepad.
Behind the glasses, high above polite conversation, underneath the creased pants and knee-length skirts… crept unspoken fears and desires. A good secretary was seen, not heard. But the office talked— about others. Through whispers, knowing glances, and the click-clack of private e-mails being written and sent. This was how they maintained a studied silence in his presence, even as they wondered things they would never ask him. What kind of people parented this problem child, any problem child? And every school had a problem child, or a child the office had problems with.
And the office never changed— it had always been a place where memories lingered like a bad smell. High school was not a place for growth or experimentation unless it fit the prescribed categories of normal growth and acceptable experimentation. There were charts and forms for that… everything you didn’t know would be held against you for future reference—
Or used for water cooler conversation. Gentry looked up again, and perched his head on one first.
Zach asked something to the receptionist, and she leaned over the counter just as Ms.Nasty was moving past.
“The Arithmetic Standards Scale?” Nasty said loudly, “I don’t know where that is.”
“It’s today, don’t you have anywhere you can check?”
“Do you have that booklet you were supposed to pick up, along with your test ID?”
Zach promptly turned away and pulled it from his backpack, pushing it into her hands.
She flipped through it casually, then laughed sharply.
“You haven’t even looked through this?”
“Where is the test? Which room?”
“It isn't here. It’s at the Holy Summit Church.”
“--- What the hell’s a math test doing in a Church?”
“It was your job to read the book.” Laughed Ms.Nasty, “What time is it? Ohh. 7:45. That means the test will start in ten minutes … at, 7:55. Good luck getting there.”