"What makes you think you're worthy of Joseph Cohen's School for the Gifted?" asks the principal, her fingers interlaced.
Her brown eyes burns into mine. In fact, those alluring pair of eyes make me ignore the wrinkles creasing her forehead.
The walls hang empty. Not even a scratch, a mark or imperfection. There's a plain white-bordered clock with huge black font on the table. Tick, tock, tick, tock. It unsettles me a little.
I take a deep breath. Every nerve in my body is tempted to inch away from this woman and her fiery eyes, but I force myself to stare back. This is the only way to earn the respect of a complete stranger –an foreigner who will determine my future.
"Because I have no interest in anything else but becoming better."
She nods. Whether she liked this response or not, I don't know. Her face betrays no emotion. In a way, she's the perfect barrier for a school so exquisite.
My heart quickens for a moment. I think of the school, what's beyond the tinted gates. And though nobody I know has ever been through those gates, there's a gut-feeling I'll belong there.
Unintentionally, my lips press against each other. Greed. Hunger. Craving for something I've never seen but fully believe in.
It's the only place I can belong.
"Do you have any close family or relatives?"
"Family and friends, I do have. But they mean nothing to me."
The corner of her mouth twitches. She likes this response. "And why don't they mean anything to you?"
"I'm different from them. In every way, shape and form."
She skims through my resume -the one I spent many hours creating. Although she must've read it beforehand, it's a visible sign I can both be rejected and accepted. There's a fifty chance of both. This makes me more edgy.
"Your brother died last year."
"You didn't attend his funeral." It's not a question. There's no disbelief in her voice, or any hint of disgust.
"Life is cruel. It's unfair. In order to live, I mirror its personality." I take out a folder from my book-bag. "Here are my semester results-"
"I don't need them. I've already made my decision."
I back away into my seat, a fair distance from her face.
"You're not going to insist I see your results?"
"I trust your judgement."
There's a pause. Her unfathomable expression is torn apart with a grimace. This soon turns into a smile.
"Welcome to Joseph Cohen's School for the Gifted, Andrea."
My fingers receive a piece of paper. It's just the perfect temperature; not too cold, not too hot but warm. It's fitting to this place, occasion and time. Suitably warm.