Those Who Can’t, May Yet

The class cleared out from the lecture hall as usual. She stayed a moment to answer the confused, waving them, as usual, toward the textbooks and the library. As the stragglers filed out she put her tablet in her briefcase, turned, and only then realised that five students remained seated. Two of the well-read girls, that boy who spoke well but too loudly, the boy dressed like a racing driver and the girl who sang at that concert.

They talked. Mild preamble, as if they were nervous to get to the point. Then they plunged – blurted it out, like they had practised a few times: the request.

“We want you to stand for election.”

They didn’t mean for the board. They were her students, and they took what she lectured very seriously. They wanted her to stand for government.

Absurd.

Yet their arguments… the appalling state of the country; with her husband gone what else to consume her; the strategy; the funding. They were very thorough. Read all of her papers and books. They had heard about her father, and the riots. They knew about her travels down South. So naïve… so silly. But their energy, their intelligence pushing their passion forward, their optimism. Their breathtaking optimism.

Hands clasped together. Eyelids narrowed. The five saw, for the first time of many, the great mind shifting and turning.

“I’ll give it some thought,” she said. “A lot of thought.” She looked up at them, new coruscations in her eyes. “Tonight.”

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