Buoyed by mystery, Wil passed a happy time in the remainder of math class and all of English. Her mind ran scores of pleasant ideas round and round as she stared, unseeing, at her teachers or seatwork.
This secret message would lead her to a secret meeting of spies, determined to overthrow an evil dictator’s evil plans to destroy all happiness. No -she was needed as a key member of a team of talented and smart teenagers, the true advisers to world leaders. Better yet, Wil would discover she was the long-lost daughter of the King of Fairies and would have her powers and prestige returned to her.
The bell for third period played its low dong, and she headed eagerly to art class. Unlike most of Wil’s teachers, her art teacher cared about her pupils and her subject. Mrs. Ting also taught French, and liked to slip in French phrases and expressive gestures while lecturing.
“Today, we will continue to work on perspective,” Mrs. T. began, pointing her right hand toward some unknown horizon line and looking distantly at her imaginary point. “You all remember the first steps, bien sûr. Now I want you to draw your horizon, your lines of perspective, and then you,” here she paused to point and look instead at the class in general, “pick what to draw.”
She swished in her open art smock over to the supply cupboard. “Castles, a sports car,” Mrs. T. nodded at a few boys sitting near the back together, “Your dream house, your own house.” She began handing out large sheets of parchment. “This school,” she added, and received a few snickers in response.
“Whatever you imagine,” Mrs. T. concluded, placing the last sheet in front of Wil and looking right at her with a smile. Wil was no great artist, and she knew it. Mrs. T. liked Wil, however, and always told her that she loved her art. “So much creativity, Wil!” She would enthuse. “I wish I could see the world the way you do!”
Wil pulled a ruler from the bin in the table’s middle and traced her starting lines. What did she want to draw? She thought idly about the note, her family, and her life as she finished the necessary steps.
Almost of their own accord, Wil’s hands began sketching in trees. They began as dark sentries at the front, then marched along her line of perspective all the way to the horizon. She pulled her errant lock of hair from behind her ear again and toyed with it while adding light swirls of fog and a wan moon in the sky.
Wil was terrible at drawing people, though she wanted terribly to capture the lone dark figure from her dreams traveling through these misty woods. Instead, she roughly outlined a dingy square building near the horizon. For kicks, she penciled in a broken neon sign that read RESTAURANT.
At this point, Wil thought of two things: One, she’d never asked her father what time of year he’d met Cynthia. Maybe it had been snowing. Two, what red table would she need to go to at noon, and who or what would really be there?