Red Pen: A Micro-Story

A couple of my friends and I have started to write together. Every week we pick a topic and have to produce a 500 word story. I figure I may as well publish them here as well. This is completely unedited so forgive any typos. There will be one of these published each week, as well as some other fiction and non-fiction I’ve been working on that’s coming real soon.

There it was again, so close, but no. How many times did she have to tell him how to answer this question? It was not like this was a particularly difficult thing to come to terms with, a simple equation, fill in the blanks and you’re done! All the way down the paper there it was again and again, the same error repeated over and over again, she had to wonder exactly how many hours she had wasted going over the same thing. At least once the magic of sharing knowledge fades you still get a paycheck.
The next Monday it was time to hand the papers back, and deal with the onslaught of complaints and nitpicking that was inevitable from a group of students who knew they could have done better, before they skulked back to their seats and awkwardly hid their returned papers under a pencil case. She gave his back last, and watched as he scanned the top for some good news, only to be left wanting, as the hopeful light left his eyes, just like every other week.
The day flew on, as with the next. Flurries of children, each group the same as the last, until the final bell released the schools population from their educational prison. Following the obligatory paperwork and the occasional staff meeting, the drive home would commence, followed by a night of procedural cop shows and a couple of chapters before bed. In years past she could have boasted of consuming high-class literature, or perhaps philosophy, perhaps a documentary on the latest scientific discovery, but now she found it much easier to simply trudge through the latest celebrity biography, or easily forgettable sitcom.
Similarly, there was a time that she found the challenge of imbibing the next generation with knowledge to be a source of excitement, a goal that deserved nothing less than all of her efforts. Now she just had a mortgage. There was still one student, however, that plagued her, even after the shoes had slid off and the ass was firmly on the lounge. Unfortunately this potential motivation was instead one setback after another.
Wednesday passed, Thursday too. With each day she sat through classes with him, as he watched, wrote, watched, and glazed over. There seemed to be no hope. She stayed back on Thursday afternoons to provide extra assistance to those who wanted it. The smart kids never took this option; they were getting eighty percent when they could have been getting one hundred, but instead satisfied themselves with the former, and told their friends they could do better if they bothered trying. He was different though. He made every extra class, wrote down every word she said, and seemingly took none of it in. This class was different though, he seemed to understand some of it, and even the smallest thing would be amazing.
Friday afternoon brought the next test, and as she got home flicked on Law and Order, before reading his test. A wave of disappointment washed over her, and she got out her red pen.

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