Author : John D. Horton

LaKeidra took her seat on the empty back row just as the substitute turned to face the class. When she saw how green the woman’s eyes were, LaKeidra nearly jumped. She’d never seen eyes that color outside of a mirror.

“Good morning class,” the substitute said in a voice that reminded LaKeidra of her mother. “My name is Mrs. Diggs. I’m your substitute for today, and let me tell you, this is a real treat for me.”

“Subbin’?”Tyrell said from the front corner. “Somethin’ wrong with you?”

“No”—Mrs. Diggs consulted a seating chart—”Tyrell. Not subbing, math. I just love math.”

Everyone in the class groaned except LaKeidra. Secretly, math was her favorite subject.

Mrs. Diggs smiled. “Oh, don’t tell me you don’t like math?”

“Math is stupid,” a girl said.

“Why do you say that?”

“Cause it’s hard.”

“Okay”—consulting the chart again— “Dasha. It can be hard, but what’s so bad about hard? There’s no glory in doing what’s easy.”

“I ain’t looking for no glory. I just need to graduate, so I can get a job.”

“Don’t you think knowing math could help you get a job?”

Tyrell said, “It’s gonna help me count the Benjamins from my Nike contract,” and high-fived the boy next to him.

Mrs. Diggs laughed. “We won’t all be as lucky as you Tyrell. Some of us will actually have to work for a living.”

Dasha raised her hand. “What about you Ms. Diggs? Where you work—other than here?”

“I’m president of a company called Chrono-Logic, and I use math there every day.”

“So, why you here then. You get fired?”

The class laughed.

“No, I’m taking time off to work on a special project.”

“You came here on your time off? Tyrell’s right. Somethin’ is wrong with you.”

Mrs. Diggs smiled. “I was a student here a long time ago Dasha. This is still a special place for me, one filled with fond memories. Would you believe I had math in this very room?”

“You got fond memories of math?”

“Well, yes. But not just of math. You see, I met my future husband here.” The class gave an overdramatic sigh which Mrs. Diggs ignored. “I remember it like it was today,” she said. “I was at the back of the room when he walked in. He was the cutest boy I’d ever seen. I thought my heart would beat right out of my chest. Then the substitute sat him next to me, and I was in heaven.”

“I might like math too, if it help me get boys.” Dasha said.

Mrs. Diggs checked her watch. “Math can help you do a lot of things. My company makes very precise timing equipment. Real futuristic stuff. You’d be amazed at what we can do. In fact, we’ve just started testing our latest invention, and it’s going to change the way people experience time forever.” She checked her watch again and glanced toward the door.

Right at that moment, the door opened to admit the cutest boy LaKeidra had ever seen.

Mrs. Diggs took the boy’s pass and set it on the desk without reading it.

“Welcome Kevin.” She smiled and scanned the room, stopping when her eyes met LaKeidra’s. “Why don’t you take the empty seat at the back next to LaKeidra?”

Kevin sat down, and LaKeidra snuck a peek in his direction. The corner of his new student folder peeked out from beneath his binder, exposing the name label: Diggs, Kevin.

LaKeidra’s heart felt like it would beat right out of her chest. She was in heaven.

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