Wilhelmina Winters: Forty-One

“Therefore,” Mrs. C. squeaked, “You can see that key words are the key to searching on the internet.” Her long pointer stick wobbled in her tiny, bony hand as she edged it through the air.  It made a small *THUNK* against the wall, then a slight *scree* as it slid.  She quickly brought her other hand up to support the base better, and the pointer end stopped.

She squinted up, following the long stick’s path between her and the fuzzy light projection displaying there. The light also flickered off her glasses, still perched atop her head and therefore out of her reach. Deciding that the pointer was close enough, she continued her lecture.

Wil and many of the class had glanced up at the pointer noise. Her attention held long enough to laugh quietly at its ending location: partially obscuring the end of the word “button” in the phrase “search button.” Then, Wil returned to her own thoughts.

Her pencil drew and re-drew the names of the Talented Teenagers on the lecture handout. It doodled hearts, smiles, clouds, maps, eyes, and question marks -icons of the listed talents. Besides trying to puzzle out why they thought she was talented and how they all thought she was imaginative, Wil was working on a new name for the group. If she could think of an especially witty one, she would feel more like a contributor and less like a misfit.

“Talented Teens, Smart Students, Smarties, Creatives of Central Junior,” Wil mumbled. She listed these and her other ideas between banal paragraphs of print. Sometimes, an itchy sensation caused her to turn and look at the row behind. Hope was always looking elsewhere, however. Wil couldn’t decide if Hope had truly not been staring or if she was, as listed, very sneaky.

Wil shrugged the sensation away again and turned to what she’d written so far. “Masters!” She whispered to herself.  That sounded cooler than “Talented Teenagers.”  But, what kind of masters?

Wil watched the tops of Mrs. C.’s glinting glasses over the computer monitors as the old woman spoke and bobbed her head. Mrs. C. had abandoned the idea of her pointer, and tried to gesture with her hands instead. Someone needs to get that woman a laser pointer, Wil thought to herself.

Wil’s pencil now outlined various ideas with the word “Masters” in them: Masters League, Master Teens, Master Creators, and Midtown Masters. She decided to ask Reagan about it at carpool, and maybe give her the list. Then, she played out actually talking to the strident girl in her head. Wil decided to save the list until she could meet with all of the group.

Folding up the lecture notes quietly, she slipped it into the secret folder of her binder. Wil had a habit of completely forgetting where she had placed things, so her mother made a point of assigning a secret spot where Wil would put her secret things whenever she started school.

Mrs. C. finally finished talking, or was finally getting hoarse from the exercise. She attempted the pointer again, almost resting it on where their assignment was flickering.

Wil sighed in relief as she woke the computer in front of her. Anything was better than just sitting.


Continued from Forty.
Keep reading to Forty-Two.

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