hallway. Most doors are closed, but the door to Calculus class is still open
and Mrs. Wiler is at the front of the classroom teaching. I tiptoe through the
door, hoping she wonâ€™t say anything, but the rickety-rackety-clackety of my
shoes yanks my classmatesâ€™ attention toward meâ€”eyes prickling my skin as I make
my way to my seat. I plop myself down, the lumbar of the seat adjusts to my
body, and the desk swings into position in front of me.
Nia,â€ Mrs. Wiler says, her voice thick with sarcasm. Calculus is not my
favorite topic. I think itâ€™s because the teacher has had it in for me all year.
I can get by, but only with Alexâ€™s help. Iâ€™m so glad heâ€™s in my class.
just-leave-me-alone smile. She doesnâ€™t seem too enthused by my response, but
itâ€™s enough to appease her, so she continues her lesson.
moment Mrs. Wiler turns away. â€œGreat game last night.â€ Sabrinaâ€™s soft voice
surfs the air like cumulus clouds on a calm day. Sheâ€™s one of the brightest
students in class, and I picture her on the Genus Council one day. Sheâ€™s not a
hologram either, which is nice. We attend classes with students in other
genuses, though not in person. Instead, 4D holographic forms appear in their
stead here, and I appear the same to them there. We can see, touch, hear, and
smell the students even though they arenâ€™t here. Still. You can tell
shoulder from behind. â€œAlex wants you to check your messages,â€ whispers Robert,
a hologram from Genus Amatista, which is on the other side of Domus and used to
be called Canada. I open my messages on the screen on my deskâ€”or dreen, as we
like to call itâ€”being watchful of the teacher. Iâ€™m greeted by Alexâ€™s avatar
holding balloons and throwing confetti that forms a message. Itâ€™s a group
message to Eric, Casey, and I. In tall black serif letters it reads:
is the answer to this problem?â€ Mrs. Wiler inquires, pointing to the
calculation on the media wall. I wonder if she knows Alex sent a message
outâ€”sheâ€™s freaky that way. Alex scribbles on his dreen, sending the equation
and answer to the media wall for all to see. He figures out the problems in
seconds, which is why Iâ€™m glad heâ€™s in my class. Two thumbs up appear on my
dreen from Casey and Eric. I