“Joining us today?” At the sound of Mr. Ratner’s voice, Rune turned and hurried into the classroom, taking his usual place in the front row.
Whenever he had the opportunity, Rune chose to sit at the front of the class. Partly due to his contrarian nature, partly because he found it easier to stay awake, but primarily because it suited his nature. He was often alone, in some classes surrounded by empty desks on most if not all sides. It was easier for him to get lost in his thoughts, sitting apart from the low chatter of other students, the drone of the teacher’s lecture the only distraction he had to ignore. School was boring, the classes pathetically easy and comically uninspiring. He performed well on tests and quizzes, not from a desire for academic achievement (college was to be an obligation, as it was for his older sister now and would be for his younger brother years later) but rather the knowledge that scoring well would compensate for low scores on his homework, too mundane and degrading to warrant serious consideration.
“Anyone care to answer?” Mr. Ratner’s voice was directed over his head, towards the rear of the class. Rune glanced at the board, knew without thinking the answer, making himself ready should he eventually be called upon. He sensed hands rising in the air behind him, felt confident someone would get the right answer — Mike perhaps, and if not him Tori for sure. The question was right in their sweet spots.
Rune looked down at his notebook, began doodling, geometric patterns without lifting his pen. Boring, yes, but there was also a peaceful solitude to class time that he enjoyed.