Susan turned her attention to the window. The amazing colors swirling from tree branches to the ground were more interesting than eye tattoos any day. Golden maple leaves waved good-bye to the mother tree as they danced to the ground, mingling with those who had fallen before and with them. Susan watched a particular leaf in flight, trying to predict where it would fall. However, her prediction would never be proven right or wrong because a sudden creature caught the leaf in mid air. Susan was amazed as she watched the puppy land on all four paws, shaking the leaf in his mouth about. His fur was as golden as the leaf. He looked something like a yellow lab. Susan couldn’t help but smile as she watched the little one dash about in the leaves. She almost forgot that dogs weren’t allowed on the school grounds.
“Enjoying the scenery?” a voice whispered in her ear.
Susan quickly turned around to see her teacher smiling down at her. She noticed that the other students were leaving for next class. She must not have heard the bell. Susan grinned sheepishly.
“Yes, sir. It’s lovely this time of year,” Susan replied.
“I’m glad I have a student who still appreciates nature,” Mr. Colliette remarked. “However, you’re going to be late for your next class if you don’t hurry.”
Susan nodded as she gathered up her things. “Oh, Mr. Colliette, there’s a dog on school grounds.”
“Where?” the teacher asked as he gazed out the window.
“It’s right-“ Susan stopped midsentence when she saw that her little golden friend was gone. “He was right out there.”
“I’ll let the main office know we might have a stray dog on the premise. You better get to class.” He handed her a note just as the tardy bell rang. Susan thanked him before dashing off to her next class.
The other classes passed by in a midst of a blur. With so much to concentrate on and to complete in each class, Susan forgot about her earlier thoughts as well as the dog. That’s how school went at the academy. Barely a moment was to go to waste. Students were to learn from the moment homeroom started till the final bell. Whether the student did learn anything was his individual choice.
Susan packed up her materials after her last class of the day: Science. She felt rather glad to have the school day over. Now she had time to relax before diving into the homework her teachers had for her. Even such a studious girl as herself had to admit when enough school was enough. She followed the stream of students outside. The majority either went to the buses, parents waiting in cars, or the sidewalk to begin the trek home. Susan merely sat down on a bench under the trees she had been watching during her homeroom. Once the student population had cleared, she would head for her mother’s classroom to begin her homework while her mother finished up her preparations for tomorrow until mother decided it was time to go home. That was how things went every school day.
Susan looked up at the sky. The clouds above were wispy streaks against the afternoon sky. They looked like angel hair caught in the wind. Susan smiled to herself. She remembered how she told her mother how angels were always getting their hair in a mess. That’s how clouds were formed. Storms were merely the tears of the angels whose hairs were matted together and were being painfully undone. She had always been a strange child, but she didn’t mind. Mother had told her daughter from a young age to be herself.
“To be real is the best gift you can give to the world,” Susan murmured to herself. That’s what mother had always said in reply to when Susan cried over being teased. Susan liked the thought. Many people in history were famous because they were different. Her thoughts turned back to Anne Frank. Anne’s story was so powerful because she was different. She was a regular girl who went through extreme circumstances. Instead of dying under the weight of persecution, she had blossomed. Now, her story inspired others. Susan wondered if she could do that someday.
A sudden whining broke her thoughts. She looked down to see the puppy from before. He indeed had the appearance of a yellow lab. Susan knelt down, holding her hand out to the little dog.
“Aww, you are so cute!” she smiled as the pup sniffed her hand. His tail wagged with plenty of enthusiasm as he jumped up in her lap. His warm fur chased away the autumn cool that attempted to nip at her bare fingers. She laughed as she quickly wrapped her hands around the little body to keep him from jumping up in her face. “Easy, boy!” she cried. “You know you’re not supposed to be here.”
That’s when she noticed a circle of gold hanging from his jaws.
“Hello, what’s this?” She gently took hold of the item. She tugged gently, asking the dog to let go. He easily let it go. He panted happily as Susan held the item in her hand for closer inspection.
Susan was surprised to find that it was indeed a ring. Its appearance reminded her of a signet ring. The thin band sported a flat oval gem that was a very light yellow. Engraved on this oval was a flower. Susan guessed the flower was a lily because of the trumpet-like blossom.
“Where did you find this?” Susan asked. She looked down to find that the puppy was gone. She looked around to see if he had run off. “Where did you go?” she called as she walked around the area. There was no sign of the little dog. Susan sighed. Seemed that rascal was good at running away. She slipped the ring in her skirt pocket. She would have to ask her mother about it later.