It was time for Elmire to wake and prepare for her first day of high school. She was still in the expectation phase of expectation vs. reality, so she had the same high expectations she’d had on her birthday.
She hoped to make friends at her new school, join a dance club, get
good perfect grades, write music, win something, improve her singing voice, continue studying the piano, exercise, kiss someone (but not in front of teachers), and attend prom.
She also wanted to study at a café with friends, drink her first cup of deliciously bitter coffee, learn more instruments, host a party that hits different, and perform something other than piano …
But before she got to those things, she washed her face and vanquished any potential acne.
Meanwhile, Elmire’s father (with her mother’s help) was painstakingly slicing tomatoes and cutting other food into perfect circles to create a masterpiece of edible cuteness for Elmire to take to school for lunch.
It turned out excellently and Asher was impressed by his ability to make bear-shaped tofu pockets filled with vinegared rice and other delicious things (inari sushi), until he remembered Elmire telling him that she disliked!!! cute things.
He’d wanted to impress her and her classmates with his epic culinary artistry, not embarrass her in front of them, so he reasoned that there was only one thing to do now.
Asher: Adelise, help! Quickly! I’m serving this lunch …
Asher: to the trash!
Asher: We need something else.
Adelise: Why? What’s wrong?
Asher: It’s cute.
Adelise: And it tastes fine, so what’s wrong?
Asher: Our daughter dislikes cute things.
Adelise: Sure, sometimes, but I don’t think she’ll mind this. She’ll appreciate your effort.
Asher: What if she thinks I never listen or pay attention to anything that she ever says?
Adelise: That would be an extreme reaction. Elmire is reasonable. I’ll explain to you what I think she means while she’s at school and if I’m wrong, I’ll cover for you, but then both of us will need to stop encouraging her to be weirdly entitled.
Positioned gracefully near the banks of Lake LaSuli and embraced by trees on its other sides, Copperdale High School is a top-tier educational institution and a center of academic and artistic excellence. Whether diving deep into the arts, sciences, or humanities, Copperdale empowers its students to reach unparalleled heights, fostering within them spirits of inquiry, creativity, and community engagement. In this former mining haven, students aren’t just prepared for the future; they’re propelled towards greatness!Copperdale High School Brochure
Elmire’s internal monologue was cheering her on, “You can do this! You can do this! You can do this! You won’t say anything stupid! Everyone’s going to be nice! It’s going to be great! On top of regular lessons, you’re going to have piano masterclasses with world-class pianists!!!🤍”
“Miss Fier! Hello, Miss Fier!” Who was calling—oh, the principal—this was not it. She’d hoped to see her friends first.
Elmire: Hello. It’s nice to meet you.
Principal Rhodes: Miss Fier, it’s nice to meet you too. Welcome to Copperdale High School. I saw your interview on the morning news and thought it was phenomenal. We’re excited to have you here and there are piano practice rooms for you to use on the second floor, but unfortunately I have some bad news.
Elmire: Thank you, but there’s bad news? Already?
Principal Rhodes: Yes, we’ve actually cancelled our entire music program, so you won’t be able to study music at all while you’re here and you’ll only be able to play in the practice rooms once a week, only on Mondays and only for about thirty minutes before school.
Elmire: Everything is cancelled?!
Principal Rhodes: Yes, there will be absolutely no music or even dance or theater at all. The arts are overrated. We’re going full STEM. Besides, don’t you still have your outside of school pre-college program thing where you have your music theory, piano performance, ear training, and other music classes?
Principal Rhodes: Oh dear! Oh dear. Miss Fier, I’m only kidding. Of course, we’re not cancelling our music program. It’s an invaluable part of our curriculum.
Elmire: I see. Sorry, Dr. Rhodes. I overreacted.
Principal Rhodes: Not at all! We love passionate students and we’re really glad to have a pianist like you in our ranks.
Elmire’s day was off to a wonderfully awkward start, but she tried to shrug the awkwardness off before going inside.
She didn’t know anyone in her first class and didn’t have much time to chat with other students, but the teacher, Dr. Burden, was friendly and made her lessons as tolerable as a teacher could.
Her passion for computer science was cute too. Dr. Burden greeted each student individually with a personalized joke.
Dr. Burden: Okay, is everyone ready for my icebreaker for Miss Fier. Miss Fier, why did the binary student attend music class? … To learn about the high notes: one, and the low notes: zero. Hilarious, right?
Elmire: I give it a perfect 1010 out of 1010 in binary.
Note: Elmire’s father read her nerdy books, made corny jokes, and had been teaching her random things from before she became a toddler.
Dr. Burden: Thank you, I’m flattered. Everyone, welcome to the beginning of a boundless adventure in a world where 1+1 = 10! In this class, you will learn foundational skills, including new ways of thinking and the basics of languages that may frustrate you in ways you never knew you could be frustrated before, but that will also allow each of you to solve complex problems, innovate, and code some truly wild things into existence, like a brighter future!
The rest of the day went well enough. Elmire couldn’t find Brett or Britany, but she made a new friend during lunch.
Carrie: Hi, I like your lunch. It’s so cute. It must have taken forever to make.
Elmire: Thanks. My dad made it.
Asher had been weird about her lunch bag that morning. Elmire wondered if he’d accidentally seasoned her food with plasma fruit or used sugar instead of salt, but it was fine.
Carrie: Your dad? Wow. My parents’ cooking is mid at best and I don’t have time, so I buy my lunch here.
Elmire: I’ll bring extra next time.
Carrie: No need! I’m Carrie, by the way. Why don’t you sit closer?
Carrie: My favorite class is art so far, but I wish we could spend more time on music, like piano or something.
Piano? Elmire was mid-bite, but she perked up immediately, finished chewing as quickly as she could, and unleashed.
They would surely become great friends and Elmire was even kind of happy she hadn’t run into Brett or Britany.
After her afternoon classes, she returned to the cafeteria to speed through some homework.
Random Student: Do you have a first name, or can I call you mine?
Random Student: Your name must be Google because you have everything I’ve been searching for.
Random Student: Sorry, thought you were cute, fam. That’s all.
Awkward meetings with the principal and a random student aside, it had been a good day. But her mother was too curious and wanted way too many details.
Adelise: How was your day?
Elmire: It was good.
Elmire: I told you. It was good. No big problems.
Adelise: Yes, but what happened? How were your classes? Did you make any friends? How were the teachers?
Elmire wanted to enjoy her tea in quiet before practicing, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to indulge her mother first.