Lone Girl: Part 3
That strategy did not work, though. In fact, it had quite the same effect. There were still stares and whispers and rumors, all circling around her being mute. She only talked when the teacher called on her and when she vibrated her vocals; all of the students around her were stunned into silence. They had had no idea she could talk until the teacher of math called on her. When she explained the problem perfectly, without looking up, everyone got a clear idea of what a genius she really was. She just needed someone to pull her out of that shell. At least, that was what the math teacher had told her parents.
The students were also shocked at how musical her voice was. It was high and smooth, with catches every once in a while, every time she looked embarrassed.
People were bewildered by her pledge of silence, and when they tried to talk to her she would just nod, but would never say a word, even if the conversation warranted a response. She would never laugh at their jokes, and she wasn’t even sure why people laughed, as if it were some kind of involuntary, trivial, unproductive thing that had no meaning.
She had never laughed, or even smiled, as a kid, and her parents were always worried that she would never be normal. Maybe, she thought, it was because she had never laughed that made her so melancholy and morbid. She never knew what to say or do when someone was laughing because to her it had a trivial importance.
What would she do when someone asked her why she was not laughing? She was never asked that, and she was sure that she never would be. Her father said that because she was so silent, she was intimidating to go up and talk to, and when people did, her saying silent was the worst mistake she could make at a new school.
She went back over to the vent, for she had heard a clear shout, “What are we supposed to do Ellen?”
“We have to move. We have to get her into a new school. She needs new scenery, and she needs new people. Just humor me here. I just want to move, no matter what it costs. Is the health of our child more important to you, or the money?”
“What kind of question is that?”
“A simple one, Alan. Is our daughter more to you than money?”
“We have to worry about both if we want to get through this life with enough left over for her lonesome self.”
“So she is equal with our money?”
“No! Of course not! But by saving our money now she has a better future. She is more important than anything in the world, but we have to focus on the long term.”
“I disagree. Alan, we have to consider the consequences of her having no friends for the rest of her life. We have to get her some friends; otherwise, her mental health will fail on an exponentially bad rate. We need her to feel better, not worse.”
She walked away from the vent. She knew her parents loved her, but she never knew how much. And now it was too late.