Crossing On A Thin Line
by Anuar Tahir
Chapter 4: Ordo ab chao(Out of chaos, order)
Lovebirds smooched and hug one another to warm themselves. The rain hadn’t stop Paper planes flew across Arnold’s face. He did not flinch in any way. He looked straight towards the lecture stage; patiently waiting for Mr Jenkins to arrive to steal the show. The constant chatter in the lecture theatre began to piss Arnold off.
“Fuck these animals, don’t they know how to shut the fuck up?” Arnold looked around to see the scurrying crowd around him.
The throng of latecomers made their way inside the huge well-lit lecture theatre. Soon, the blue coloured seats were filled with a sea of inconsiderate jocks who wore their proud red base with white lightning streaks school uniforms. Arnold inserted his earphone in his ears; which were lobed. He ignored the bustling world around him as he took out his wet collection of notes. He placed it neatly on his the elongated table.
A dark figure emerged from the entrance and it was the all-familiar white beard that caught everyone’s attention in the theatre. Arnold kept looking straight towards the lecture theatre.
“Looks like someone came later than me” Arnold thought.
Mr Jenkins had his arms in akimbo. He then took out his laptop and started his slow and boring presentation. Everyone took out their notes and started to scribble illegibly. If it’s one thing that Dunston High is known for; it’s how fast the students need to cope in catching up with what their lecturer is talking about.
Arnold didn’t take out his pencil like all the other students.
“Programmed like a robot, is this what the school taught us to be? To listen to orders and act like a dog?” Arnold was in deep thought.
Arnold still had his earpiece on. He wasn’t listening to any of the important keywords Mr Jenkins spouted. He was listening to “The Modern Age” by the strokes. Arnold looked around the lecture theatre; looking at the grand architecture and design of the theatre. It was inspired by the classical and renaissance art. Elaborate frescos of men and woman clad in white robes holding hands with one another, walking towards the great beyond.
“Arnold!” a commanding voice boomed throughout the silent theatre.
Everyone had their eyes on Arnold. He was still in his reverie; thinking about the insignificant idea of love and soul mates. He looked at Gina; his classmate who had black short-shoulder length hair. She sat right of his seat. She pointed to Arnold’s left, where Mr Jenkins stood.
Mr Jenkins pulled out the single cord from his earpiece. This time, Arnold flinched.
“What the f..?” Arnold stopped short of his words.
Mr Jenkin’s famous akimbo scared the living daylights out of Arnold.
“Follow me to my office, we need to talk” Mr Jenkins spoke in a deep serious tone.
Arnold hesitated. He took a big step forward as Mr Jenkins walked towards the exit door of the theatre. Mr Jenkins opened the door and both of them walked out of the theatre; leaving the rest of the students in a daze.
Mr Jenkins and Arnold entered the office. Pillars and mountains of books on philosophy, social sciences and anthropology caught Arnold’s attention. He darted his eyes from one corner of the room to the other end. He had not been into the room before. No one was permitted to enter his room unless he has his reasons.
Arnold knew too well what his lecturer is about to do; his famous boring lecture.
“Arnold, take a seat. I know you have been lectured countless of times, you are the hardest student to handle by far. You have excellent grades and you can continue your studies to Oxford or even to Harvard with a flick of a finger…” He paused.
Mr Jenkins took a sip of water from his water bottle.
“You are an amazing student in that aspect but you have to learn things no other student is able to experience in this school. I see you have the potential to be someone good or even bad in the future. You need to explore what kind of world is it out there. The world isn’t just about books, movies and documentaries. It is meant to be explored. You need to experience life, not learn about it.”
“You are a complete mess; you don’t have any guidance and you think on your own. Ordo ab chao. Out of chaos, I will make order out of you. This brings me exciting news, I received news that you have been approved to be attached to “SearchBook” as an intern. There, you will know how to be a responsible adult. I have faith in you that you will do well in it. Your grades are sufficient to get you into a good university. Do not worry about that.”
“I want you to be more than who you can be; not just as an excellent student, but a good person as well” Mr Jenkins finally stopped.
“What?” Arnold froze in his seat.
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©Anuar Tahir. The story is the work of fiction. Any ideas and characters in the story are wholly owned by Anuar Tahir. Do not republish it under your name.