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Black Forest part 4
6. Carter is the only teacher I have ever known. He is the smartest person I know, including my parents. And this is why he has always frightened me, and caused me to be severely cautious about my studies. Ben, on the other hand, has always cared less about what Carter might think.
Down the road from my house, is a small storage shed turned school house. That is where, five days a week after September first, Carter teaches me and seven other Black Forest children.
Mysteries abound in my neck of the woods, and Carter is no exception. He his old, but not too old, and incredibly serious about life, and about everything he does. His passion for turning people smart is the only thing that seems to motivate him to continue living. The only time I have ever seen him smile, is when Ben finally did a better job on a quiz than I. Carter has let himself go, he looks like a cave man, hairy and un-kept. But sometimes I imagine him clean shaven and dressed-up and I smile because he would probably be a handsome older man.
One morning as I sat at my desk in school, I watched Carter explain a mathematical equation, he did his usual struggling to keep it simple, and I realized something that I had learned from his brief psychology lesson. Maybe Carter is a savant. It was just another crazy theory of mine, but I felt it was just interesting enough to tell Ben. I slid my note across my desk, hanging it over the side. Ben quickly snatched it from me.
“I doubt Carter is a savant,” he said as we walked to my house.
“Don’t you think his is different though? Like really smart, but really weird.”
“Yeah, that’s basically every teacher,” Ben replied, but then got excited, “ Dale! You’re going to investigate with me aren’t you? If you do, I’ll make sure to solve this Carter debate with factual evidence,” said Ben wearing a huge knowing grin. I rolled my eyes.
“You know what, fine. My we find answers that will satisfy our thirst for adventure.”
“I’m not sure what that means, but I am so thrilled you’re with me on this,” Ben expressed his happiness.
“I’m thrilled that you just agreed to find out who Carter is for me,” I spoke expressively, “Now let’s go plan!”
“Adele,” Carter called to me from the school house. Feeling caught I slowly turned around, and by that time he was already on his way to meet me.
“ Ben, could you please let me and Adele have a private conversation?” Ben nodded his head and obediently walked away. I had no idea what Carter wanted to talk to me about. But I saw he was fiddling around with a piece of paper in his hand.
“Adele, I found a note that you had written to Ben, and it made me chuckle to myself. Now I realize that you to pass notes all the time, and that is something I will choose to ignore, as long as it doesn’t hinder your studies or distract from my lectures. Just now I found a note you had written Ben, and it proposed the idea that I might me a-,” Carter paused and laughed, “ A savant.” I blushed instantly, so embarrassed that this brilliant man found my stupid, stupid note.
“Oh, that note,” I said, trying to give him a hint that I didn’t take it seriously.
“Why didn’t you just ask me yourself, ask me if I was a savant? The brilliant yet slightly awkward man that you think I am?”
“Well, I it was just a random thought that came to my mind in class, nothing really that I thought was worth inquiring about,” I answered.
“Then why were you just conspiring with Ben about finding out whether your thought was an actually valid idea?”
“I am not a savant. I am just an average guy that happens to have a big brain,” He laughed, “ And as for me being a little different all around, that will always be a mystery. To you, at least,” Carter spoke.
“I’m sorry for assuming something about you,” I spoke.
“It’s perfectly fine, assume away,” said Carter. I stood there amazed by my teacher. But something in his expressions and tone of voice, warned me not to assume or look any deeper into the man that he really is. This warning, though, was something my lack of self-control could not heed.
7. Midnight was my favorite time to watch the asylum. I usually sat on top of my roof with binoculars and went from every lit window to the next. Tonight Ben was with me.
“Wow, Carter is so weird.”
“No, he’s not, he’s awesomely different. I want to be just like him when I grow up. All smart and cultured and basically all-knowing.”
“You idolize him too much. Hey, hey…give me the binoculars!” Ben ripped them out of my hand.
“Did you see that?”
“I saw something come out of the trees. It was definitely a person. Look!” He handed the binoculars to me, I scanned for a little, then noticed a figure walking along the side of the building.
“Hmm, I wonder who it is. Or what he’s doing,” I said, keeping total focus on what I was watching. The person stopped at a dark window, stood there for a while, then left entering into the Black Forest.
“I don’t know, he or she, whoever it was, was wearing a big black coat and a very well-masking hood. They just stood at a window for a while then left.”
“Interesting and suspicious.”
“Yep all two,” I joked.
“I think it is time we plan on making a visit to the asylum, get a close up on what’s going on.”
“Well, Ben, I think you’re right,” I spoke in my sarcastic tone. Ben looked at me and smiled.
“On another note, have you ever thought about what are futures look like?”
“What?” I looked at him so confused.
“Like what we’ll be when we grow up, or who we’ll marry.”
“You are the strangest teenage boy I have ever met, and the only kid that is worried about his future.”
“One, I am pretty much the only teenage boy you know, and two I know for a fact that you worry about your future.”
“How do you know that?”
“I read your journal, but don’t mind that, anyways, I just don’t like living in such as small and sheltered world. It was fun as a kid, I had lots of room to play and stuff, but now as l learn about other places and the endless amount of opportunities for people out there, outside of our little world, I long for experience and most of all freedom.”
“We’re free here. But, no, I understand what you mean. And I have this kind of comfort that one day things will change, but that also scares me,” I spoke, processing all the thoughts in my mind. I looked at Ben, noticing he was studying me intensely.
“But hey, we are living next to an insane asylum, and we are making the best out of it,” Ben smiled wide; he must’ve decided to keep his other thoughts to himself.