She was something. She was clever. She held a pen between her thumb and index finger, halfway from the tip, and scribbled a wavy line when she was just two. She aced the alphabet and the numbers by four. The first time she spelled Mississippi with all the s’s and i’s and the p’s, without any stammer or stutter, her father discovered he had given birth to a prodigy. She read all the books and knew Wordsworth by heart by six. From then on, every year she participated and won the spelling bee.
She was overworked by twelve. It wasn’t easy living up to everyone’s expectations, constantly win, and still have a social life. By social life I mean have at least one friend. But she intimidated children her age with her scholarly ways of life that nobody wanted to come close to her, let alone be her friend. At fourteen, she was tired and started snapping out. Everyone in her class had a boyfriend and she started feeling undesired. She liked a boy in her class, he scored C’s and D’s but played basketball. He was the cool guy, always around people.
As cliché as it sounds, he approached her as if he read her mind.
“I know you like me.” He said, scanning both sides of the corridor as if he was ashamed. “I have seen you look at me that way.” He swallowed his spit and proceeded. “ There is a high possibility that I might like you if you could prove to me that you are like the other girls. The girls who don’t give a shit about reading and studying and all that bullshit.” He said pointing to a random girl at the end of the corridor. “You have ten days to do that.” He paused and then continued, “Show me that there is a normal girl behind all that façade.”
The spelling bee was here. For the past six years, she had been the Spelling bee champion. She stood in front of the audience. She got all the words right one after the other, words like KAKORRHAPHIOPHOBIA.
Round three – Spelling words within 10 seconds. The words weren’t difficult, but the pressure was immense. She always topped this round before. Now, she had to spell 43.
“F-O-U-R-T-Y T-H-R-E-E” she answered. The crowd booed. Everybody laughed. She looked at the boy – for approval. But he looked away like her effort to win him over was INSUFFICIENT.
Note: Forty is the modern spelling in all English variants. The older term fourty is considered to be a misspelling.