In the history of mankind it is likely no one had sneered at so beautiful a young lady with more contempt than Alex. Destined for greatness, Alex had applied to and been accepted by William and Mary, Rice, Notre Dame, and the Universities of both North Carolina and Virginia. He did his best to insure that everyone knew just how special he was and his graduation as valedictorian from Clarksburg High at the tender age of fourteen and a half ratified his opinion that few in the world, and certainly no one he was likely to encounter outside an international conclave of MENSA, was his equal.
Focused, grounded in logic and reason, possessing an unflagging ability to drive himself forward and concentrate on cerebral pleasures rather than those that stimulate the nucleus accumbens, he had long ago concluded that pleasures of the flesh were both overrated and a distraction from his raison d’etre- his purpose in life. Logic dictated that he keep himself well and therefor his shell, his body, his corporeal being was well cared for, but this was done in order to insure the highest possible mental functioning. His muscles were taut, stomach flat and creased with what peons so gracelessly refereed to as “six pack abs,” yet health was strictly his reason for this, he did not work out to attract admirers nor sexual partners.
Having observed his school mates lose what little dignity they had previously possessed when puberty and hormones created sex fueled fools he had decided to eschew mating and courtship. Affection was overrated and as he had yet to meet any female who approached his mental abilities he had decided that lowering himself to be with a lesser human would be akin to zoophelia. Others might need to placate their raging hormones but his will allowed him to resist the lure of what could only be described as same species bestiality. Pleasure lay in expanding one’s mind and in exerting dominance over lesser creatures and while others might allow their minds to be ruled by their bodies he would keep thought supremely aloft over feelings.
Even as he had been accepted to many fine colleges his life plan had been derailed. January 20th would mark his 19th birthday and the start of his ninth college semester as an undergraduate. His grandiose plans had been sabotaged by a cosmic wooden shoe, a sabot that had come seemingly from the blue and altered his great plan at the tender age of 14.
He had thought his father’s business was doing great, his parents certainly spent money like it was, but when the economy crashed in ’08 it had been too much for his father. They went from living in luxury to starting fresh in a matter of months. Exchanging their McMansion and luxury cars for the tiny apartment and nine to five job that resulted from the demise of Dad’s business, heaped on the specter of faliure and the ignobility of their new penury, had proved too formidable and Pops had drawn a warm bath, ingested enough sleeping pills to kill ten, and quietly slipped away. Mercifully Dad died from the pills, not drowning, but in either case all of Alex’s dreams had also passed that day.
If there is a god then certainly his name is Loki because fate had even managed one last, enormous joke to be played on Alex. Even though the cause of Dad’s death had been suicide Dad’s life insurance had been in effect long enough that he and Mom could have collected but even this last bit of comfort and solace had been taken from them when early in the collapse Dad surrendered his Whole Life policy for cash value and plowed the measly couple of hundred thousand dollars that he had received back into his doomed business. Talk about screw ups.
And his mother? Basket case.
She had always been the weak one, so full of feelings and needs. He had related so much more to his father and now Dad was gone and Mom was his cross to bear. Her needs were seemingly infinite and the prospect of Alex going away to school, of pursuing the destiny that was so obviously intended to be his, was taken from him with the ultimate act of selfishness Dad had chosen.
Mom could not be left to live alone and none of her family members had been willing to take her in. The selfish aunts and uncles who had previously enjoyed the fruits of his parents’ success did not deign to let Mom live with them and thus let Alex get on with his life. No, they saddled him with being her protector, her care giver, her nursemaid, and subsequently made impossible his hopes for a life that was fitting and proper.
Alex was the bread winner as well as surrogate parent for his own mother and school came last when it should have come first. He’d tried on-line classes but being in the same house with Mom meant catering to her every whim. It was impossible to ignore her constant calls for help and attention and after the first failed fiasco of trying to attend to what was important in his own home he had given up on on-line work and figured out how to squeeze in two classes per semester while working sixty plus hour a week and doing all the cooking, cleaning, shopping and Mom sitting. He eked out a monastic, frustrating life void of fulfillment and intellectual challenge that any 19 year old would despise, let alone one of his exceptional caliber.
Montgomery College in German Town was the school all the losers from high school attended and here he was still going to a two year school four and a half years after graduation. Classes were a joke, the technology instructors knew less than he and the bio-science classes had reminded him of AP Bio back in his freshman year at Clarksburg. Surely part time at time at a community college was a nightmare rather than a dream true.
It took him a few seconds to recognize her when he saw her. They had both graduated from Clarksburg in ’09 and had been in two or three advanced placement classes together in their junior and senior years. She was three years his senior and had been a far distant salutatorian, one that he remembered as requiring help from him on numerous occasions. Once he saw her he recalled her names was Elizabeth, or Liz as she preferred, and that she too had been accepted to UVA.
She was far more attractive at 22 than she had been at 17 but what caught his eye was the lanyard she wore around her neck. Liz was now on staff at Montgomery College, an instructor at this Podunk, “Harvard in the Pike” and she was staring right at him with an enormous grin on her face. She recognized him alright and no doubt was going to lord it over him that her life was going somewhere while his was stagnant and fetid.
Alex saw her, responded to her friendly smile with a look of utter contempt and walked out of Globe Hall and headed over to the gym for a quick, punishing workout. Liz might think that she had the world tied up with a bow but Alex was damned if he was going to let her gloat about it to him. He finished his workout, flashed his student ID to the bus driver and jumped on the Ride-On bus to head home before going to job number two. His life might be shit, but he certainly didn’t need any second rate girl reminding him of that fact.
It was a shame he hadn’t given Liz just a moment of his time because she was as thrilled to see him as she was surprised. Even though he was much younger than she he had always intrigued her, she had always felt a little more alive in his presence. She just hoped that the encounter had not been strictly chance nor fate and that she might find him on campus again before her adjunct assignment was over and she moved on to bigger things. She remembered Alex well and knew he was going places and she would certainly like to know where his likely destination truly was.