The Dodecahedron Skirting the Round Hole

Their website said ‘prestigious’ but my mind thought ‘pretentious’. Even as I read the introductory sentences in the ABOUT section of their website, the words were being recited by someone I like to call Mrs.Delatrice Branderbury. Mrs. Branderbury is married to Johnathan Branderbury of the Oxford Branderburys. She is always neatly coiffed, suitably primped and adequately tucked at all times. And right now she was telling me all about the advantages of applying to this pretentious, sorry, prestigious institution in her perfectly clipped, greatly enunciated and slightly nasal voice.

It was funny how a college that claimed to welcome everyone was quick to counter that statement with “our standards are exceptionally high”. In other words, feel free to be who you are as long as you’re exactly what we want. Well I was pretty sure I wasn’t what they wanted but my father begged to differ. He didn’t see class, creed, colour or his own daughter apparently. He figured I was smart enough to excel academically and so should have no problems getting into any college he wanted. To him, it really shouldn’t matter what society had to say about my social standing. Well, I wasn’t worried about society; I was worried about the kids in my school. My colleges of choice would definitely lead to leaving them and my assigned nerd status behind.

It was all well and good for my father to talk about equality but for me, only two things existed. Inside High School and Outside High School. On the outside, I would nod when my father made his comments, smile and say ‘hmmm’ in all the right places. On the inside, I kept my head down and darted from one class to another like a cockroach that had wandered into a way too pristine kitchen and knew its life would be over if the pretty lady spotted it.

Kids in my father’s day may have graduated from high school but for us, we just aimed to survive it. I can’t tell him that though. He just thinks I’m being dramatic. Seriously. He used exactly that word last week when I told him I still hadn’t applied to Chesterfield College.


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“Come on Dianne, you’re running way too close to the deadline!”

“But Dad, I told you already! I applied to Brandt, Oxton AND Gerard. All great colleges that I know for a fact I’m going to get into. We don’t need Chesterfield. Besides, I’m not snotty enough to get in there.”

“Please. You’re being dramatic. You don’t need a family tree to get into college. You need great grades and you have those. So no more delays. You are going to fill out AND send in your application tomorrow.”

“Dad…”

“Dianne!”

And that was that. So here I was going through the college’s online brochure. Now would you look at that…a genealogical map of the families who had attended Chesterfield throughout the history of the college. I guess a family tree might be a requirement after all. Maybe they would sneak that into the college medical? Whatever. I would complete the form and submit it later in the day. My heart was set on Brandt anyway.

Weeks later, after all my acceptance letters had been received and celebrated, the response from Chesterfield arrived. The envelope was made of the kind of thick white parchment paper that normally houses wedding invitations. My name was actually embossed on the fancy envelope in gold lettering. When the postman handed it to me, I could tell he was wondering if he should have presented it with much more fanfare. Kind of like when the prince presented Cinderella with the glass slipper on a cushion.

Since it was so fancy and all, I left the reading to Mrs. Branderbury.

Dear Miss Dennison,

Thank you for your interest in our preten…ahem…prestigious institution. Unfortunately, based on the number of highly connected, I mean, qualified applicants, we are unable to offer you a place in our current (or future for that matter) academic programme.

We wish you all the best in your future endeavours (and please never darken our doorstep again).

Okay so Mrs. Branderbury and I may have taken a few liberties in our interpretation of the letter but that was the general gist of it I promise. I tossed the letter to my father. He’s the only one it would matter to anyway. Delatrice and I needed to start packing for our new life at Brandt. I think she’s finally leaving Johnathan.


About Karen Heslop

Karen Heslop writes from Kingston, Jamaica. Her stories have been published or are upcoming in a Devolution Z anthology, 101 Words Magazine, Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, The Flash Fiction Press, Bloodbond Magazine and Bards and Sages Quarterly.

>> Karen Heslop's author page

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