The beautiful, warm sunlight shines on the sands where I'm lying. The sounds of waves crashing onto the shore fills my ears as I take a sip from my zeenana smoothie. My custom-made hat for my curly ears lies perched on my head. Multicoloured Pteris fly overhead, seemingly headed to the harbor.
This is the good life; just relaxing on Mystery Island. Absolutely nothing will be able to ruin this momen-
I bolt awake, almost sending the pencil I was fumbling with flying out the open door. Mister Pirk stares at me with those stern eyes of his.
"Ah...! Uh, I'm sorry, I was, um, thinking about the equation."
He sighs. "Alisa, we were discussing grammar."
"Really now," he says, simultaneously folding his arms and wings. "How much of this lesson can you even remember?"
To be fair, part of me was going to blurt out "nothing". But, with me being a semi-pseudo-kinda compulsive liar when it comes to not getting in trouble, I just played it safe. "Uh, most of the stuff, I think."
He arches his eyebrows. "Really now? And just what is "most" of this lesson?"
Uh-oh... Um, well, it's time to bust out my super special secret weapon.
"Have I ever mentioned how awesome a teacher you are Mr. Pirk? I mean, seriously, you are one awesome Eyrie."
He just continues staring at me, like a hungry meepit. "Well?"
Drat, plan "compliment him so that his ego swells and I get let off the hook" didn't work. Looks like I'm all out of options, so I guess it's time for some honesty.
"Um, well... I... I don't know."
"Honestly, Alisa, the entire reason you're in this remedial class in the first place is because you hardly pay attention in your main lessons. You should be happy you're being able to learn in the first place."
"It's kinda hard to pay attention when everything is so completely and utterly boring."
Whoops, didn't mean to say that. Why did I have to slip up right now?
He walks over to my desk. "It's only boring because you condemn it to being so. If you'd just start putting some energy into it, you'd find out that things are hardly as bad as you think they are."
Just as he finishes the sentence, the bell rings. He sighs once more, scratching his feathered head while doing so.
"Regardless, this remedial class is over. You may return home now, but please, think about what I've just said."
I barely hear what he's saying as I grab my pencil, paper, and backpack and rush out the door.
"So, how was remedial?"
My friend Irma and I walk together along the way to our houses. It's a pretty cold day, and I mentally berate myself for not wearing a sweater to school this morning. At this rate, I'm going to become a snow Gelert instead of a purple one.
"Eh, it was okay, I guess. Mr. Pirk was a little more lecture-y than usual, but no biggie."
She adjusts her glasses in a sort of daze, her blue bow-tied Usul ears bobbing along as she does so. "I know how you feel about it and all, but maybe you should consider actually studying for once."
I stop in my tracks. "Irma, you too?"
She shakes her head. "Look, Al, all I'm saying is if you actually study a little, you're gonna get out of those after neoschool classes faster. And that means we can hang out longer too."
I shrug and start walking again. "That's easy for you to say. Unlike me, you actually seem to be good at it. How can you survive with all those math and science problems and essays and speeches?"
"Practice," she says dryly. "Seriously though, just keep it in mind, okay?"
Sheesh, everyone I know is lecturing me today. "Yeah, yeah. I gotcha, Miss Smartypants."
Eventually, we stop in front of my house, a slightly broken down, but otherwise normal little neohome. "This is my stop."
"Yup. Well, see ya at neoschool tomorrow."
"Yeah, you too."
As she walks away, I can't help but still feel a little ticked off. The two of them don't understand what it's like for me. At least they enjoy themselves there, so good for them. I wish they'd leave people like me alone.
Lost in my thoughts, I open the front door. It's relatively nice and warm in here, which is pretty nice after having to trek through the small avalanche waiting to happen that's the route to neoschool. It's times like these that I really, really wish my family and I lived in Mystery Island instead of Terror Mountain.
I heave my bag onto the wooden floor. "Mom, I'm home!"
"Welcome home, dear!" her voice calls from upstairs. Before long, she's walking down the staircase, a bit of dust from her daily cleaning routine clinging to her violet dress. "How was neoschool?"
I'm kinda sick of hearing that word, to be honest. "Eh, same as always. Boring as always."
She zips past me into the kitchen, but not before asking another question. "And remedial class?"
"Just the usual too."
A second later, she pokes her head out of the kitchen archway. "Honey, did you learn anything new today?"
"Not really. Okay fine, not at all."
"Alisa, you know that you're never going to get out of those classes, let alone stay in the neoschool, if you keep refusing to learn."
I roll my eyes. Great, now she's going to lecture me as well. "I know, I know. Geez, everyone's been chewing me out today."
"You know that it's only because I care about you, right? It's been almost four months since you've started attending them. Without it, you'll never catch up in your education. Your father would have agreed, as well."
"... I know."
She walks out from the kitchen, her damp Gelert paws in a towel. "So please, sweetie, maybe you should start being a little more serious about all this."
I really can't take much more of this anymore. "How am I supposed to be serious if I can barely stand them!? It's not my fault I hate them so much."
She puts her green paw on my shoulder. "I know. Alisa, that kind of thought process is only because you don't want to fully immerse yourself in them. If you'd actually just gave them a clear look, at the very least, I'm sure you'd find a subject that you'd like."
"Mr. Pirk said the same thing."
"Then he cares about you as well." She smiles. "Anyway, you must be hungry. I've poured some florange juice and have already made some tigersquash sandwiches in the kitchen. Come on."
I just nod, and mumble in my grumpy daze while walking to the food.
I had a dream when I slept tonight. The same one I always have when I feel miserable, with my dad sitting on my bed and asking how things went today. He'd always smile that smile of his and do that thing with his brown Ogrin ears that always made me giggle. It's always comforting, but it makes me feel a little sadder every time I wake up from the dream. It always reminds me that he's gone, and I can't just rely on him to make all of my problems disappear anymore.
Tomorrow morning, I walk to neoschool alone. It's not really neoschool per say, it's a series of sessions that Mr. Pirk set up for me there on Saturdays. It kinda stinks, but what can ya do? Not much, in my case. I'm glad my normal teachers don't give out too much homework; the extra lessons are already more than enough to handle on their own.
Having had the foresight to bring a sweater and coat this time, instead of shivering like a sheared Gnorbu the entire way there, I start to think on yesterday's events. Admittedly, I'm still really upset at everyone, but at the same time, I kinda feel, dare I say... guilty.
"I've tried at neoschool stuff; it's just that..."
Argh, those lectures have completely frizzed out my brain. Now I'm starting to feel 'remorse' of all things. This is even worse than the brain freeze from drinking nine zeenana slushies. I haven't felt this way in my entire life, it's just so annoying!
"Then again, I guess so is talking to myself while on a frozen road."
Maybe... maybe I should- N-No, I won't. It's not my fault I'm like this. I-It's not because I haven't tried. It's not.
"It's only boring because you condemn it to being so. If you'd just start putting some energy into it, you'd find out that things are hardly as bad as you think they are."
Because I haven't...
"I know how you feel about it and all; but maybe you should consider actually studying for once."
"I know. Alisa, that kind of thought process is only because you don't want to fully immerse yourself in them. If you'd actually just gave them a clear look, at the very least, I'm sure you'd find a subject that you'd like."
Oh, pickles. Well, here goes nothing.
He stops reading his book and turns towards me.
"Alisa, you're here then. Please take your seat."
I nervously shuffle my legs. This is going to be interesting... "Uh, actually, There's something I want to say to you first."
He arches his eyebrows again, as always.
"I... I-I'm sorry."
He stares at me once more, but unlike yesterday's gaze, it's the dumfounded kind of stare. "I beg your pardon?"
"I've been thinking of what you said yesterday, what my best friend said, what my mom said, and what we've been doing all these months. I-I just, I think I haven't really been seeing or hearing what you've been wanting to teach me. You've been trying so hard to get this into my head, to get me to understand... for myself. I'm going to try my best at this now, even if it means having to, ugh... study."
Silence. Well, this is awkward.
Just before I decide to run away out of embarrassment (or him to question whether I'm really me), he smiles.
"It's nice to see you've finally decided for yourself, Alisa."
For some reason, I can't stop smiling because of his smiling as well. I really should feel pretty bad, but I don't.
And somehow, I think I actually like it this way.