Turning around quickly she said, ‘Hush, where’s your father?’
‘Swimming in the living room. You don’t mind if we talk, do you?’
‘No,’ she said, smiling, ‘I kind of like it. It must be such fun for you to be able to voice with your friends at school.’
He scratched his nose and played with the buttons of his shirt. ‘That’s what I wanted to ask you about actually.’
Sensing the serious tone in her son’s voice, 2 rotated her hoverchair to face him.
‘Has dad said anything about our school being closed down?’
‘He,’ she hesitated, and 3 noticed her uncertainty, ‘He says it’s almost a done deal. He’s been pushing hard for years now and has finally gathered enough support among the other councilors to go ahead. Of course he is the education minister.’
Keeping his eyes fixed on the liquid floor, 3 felt a surge of anger in his veins and his head began to ache again. ‘It’s not fair, mum. It’s just not fair.’
Wisely, his mother tried a change of subject to attempt to calm him, ‘What about your dream? Did you want to tell me about it?’ she said. But he turned abruptly and left the room talking to himself. She tried to project a warning to him to stop voicing, but he was so angry she could not penetrate his thoughts.
In the bathroom, 3 looked at his image in the mirror and cursed. His head, a little large for his body, its shape oval yet triangular, narrowing at the forehead. Eyes wide-spaced, under no eyebrows and long lashes, nose flattened, mouth too wide. As far as Newtonians could be attractive he probably looked all right, but how would any girl ever find him attractive? How would a particular Adonite girl desire this ugliness? If he was to be forced into single tribe education then it probably wouldn’t matter anymore. Obviously looks would play no part in the partnering of Newtonians, but he desperately wanted to stay in mixed schooling. Of course there was no hope of him ever partnering with a girl from another tribe but so much of a teenage boy’s world was fantasy, and 3 was no different. He burned with passion for his friend, the goddess, Veena.
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