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Through the Looking Glass

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In 9th grade, Catherine failed her first and only math test and her father wouldn't speak to her for two days. When he finally did, he uttered a single word: “Why?” Catherine understood instantly. It was "why", not "how", and the silence as he waited for her response was deafening. Catherine's IQ was off the charts. She could do math in her sleep. She wasn't brilliant like her father, and she knew she never would be; hell, she didn't *want* to be, but she could have aced this test with her eyes closed.

She answered the only way she knew how: "I just felt like failing for a change." It was the most honest and vulnerable response she could have given. In school, she had few friends, was a freak to most. Failing allowed her to be human, instead of some math wiz. Failing made her feel... normal. She looked down, bit her lip, and fought back tears. A renowned Professor such as her father would not stand for this kind of insolence. Suddenly, she felt a gentle hand palming her face, tilting it upward.

"Good, Cathy. Just don't make it a habit, okay?" She smiled and closed her eyes.