Chapter 1: Group Portrait
The students and faculty of ‘Norwood’s School for the Gifted’ gathered in front of the old building for a group photo. It had been a steadfast tradition since the institution opened many years earlier. When the photographer finally managed to coax all the participants to smile, he quickly captured the scene. The prestigious campus building acted as an unchanging backdrop for the annual memento. Several weeks later when the photograph was processed, it was framed and placed in the hallway display case. It took its natural place alongside its predecessors.
Upon viewing the portrait, Principal Sizemore become mildly annoyed. He asked his secretary who the young boy was standing to his right side. Mrs. Dyer replied that she didn’t recognize him. “I plainly told all the students to stand to my left side, so they would be certain to be in the picture. How can I believe in my students inherent ‘giftedness’, if they can’t even follow simple directions?”; He concluded with distain.
“Just because they are gifted doesn’t mean that they aren’t human.”; Mrs. Dyer defended. “Everyone makes mistakes from time to time. It’s quite possible he has dyslexia. A high number of artistic people suffer from it, or other cognitive learning disabilities.”; She added.
“I’m well aware of the prevalence and limitations of autism spectrum disorders, Mrs. Dyer. Regardless, even if he doesn’t know his left from his right side; he should recognize where the other students were standing!” Her only response was to shrug. “Also, how come I don’t recognize the kid or remember him standing beside me?”; Mr. Sizemore pondered. “I thought I knew all students enrolled here.”
“Remember that our enrollment this year is the largest we’ve had in 17 years.” She offered sympathetically. She realizing he was subconsciously worried about getting older and losing his legendary ‘steel-trap’ memory. Deep down, she understood his obsession for control and wanted to ease his mind. Fear of losing personal cognizance is one of man’s most universal fears. Perhaps second only to the fear of death itself.
“But you don’t recognize him either!”; He pointed out, anxiously. “Between the two of us, we should know who he is, for goodness sake.” Realizing that her prior reassurances were futile, she gave her: ‘I don’t know’ shrug again; and went back to reading her book.