Tap, tap tap….tap…tap–

“Miss Damling! Stop tapping your pencil, you are disrupting the class.”

Mary stuck out her tongue after the teacher turned away, but ceased tapping in favor of staring out the window. There was always something interesting going on outside the second-floor window, whether it was people walking down below, a bird in the nearest tree, there was never a dull moment. And when there was, all Mary really had to do was make up something interesting outside the window. Today there wasn’t really much of anything happening outside. All she could see was snow. Maybe school would be let out early today? Nah, that never happened. Mary knew from experience that the day would drag on and on as the teacher droned about the civil war from the background.

Her mom told her that when she got bored, words went in one ear and out the other. Mary could only wonder at why words would want to go into people’s heads in the first place, especially through people’s ears. Maybe that was why phrases like ‘waxing poetic’ existed…poetry was boring enough that the words would go right through her ears too, and get all waxy.

But it didn’t make sense, not the way she saw it. And in a sudden rush of thought, she found that she saw the words in long filaments, flowing from her teacher’s mouth, swiveling through the air at crooked angles as they looked for a head to hide in.

Mary looked around. There were words everywhere, and not just coming from the teacher’s lips. Words were slipping from the heads of other students, in little clouds of letters and numbers that slowly dissipated in the stagnant air, replaced with a continual stream of thought.

There was one person in the class whose thoughts were not drifting out his ears. It was Bryan, the boy who sat one seat ahead in the next row. Bryan, the boy who handed in his spelling tests covered in doodles of aliens and otherworldly cityscapes, with weird, misshapen skyscrapers outlined against a loosely-penciled half-moon. Bryan, who at that moment was paying avid attention to the paper before him as his ballpoint pen whizzed over looseleaf. His hands were dyed black with letters, flowing to fall neatly before him, radiating outward from the center of the page..

Slowly, Mary leaned over and peered at his notebook, and wrote what are you doing? in the top corner. Bryan’s hand stilled, the scritch of his pen silenced as he glanced up. After a moment of thought, he wrote in sloppy chicken-scratch letters beneath her own, writing a story.

About what?

Miss Damling, I suggest you direct your eyes forward and pay attention!”

She flashed him a small apologetic smile and leaned back in her chair, staring out the window. This time, with pen in hand, scrawling doodles across her paper.