The endless lecture on the Pythagorean Theorem turned away her disinterested mind, ignoring input judged unthreatening and non-beneficial. Freed from external focus, a world firmed into existence, populated by the same inhabitants she knew in the other place, but in different circumstance.
Around her, other students sat rapt, absorbing information for later application to out of class assignments. She couldn’t muster such concentration, not with an ever-present, raging inner struggle, one unseen and unspoken, between the ethereal and the corporeal. Gender armed another immunological system, its singular focus ridding her of a tethered foreign body, misapplied and unwanted.
The inner world provided a reconfigured mental avatar, one corrected of hated flaws. Life eased and a smile played, even as eyes held no focus. The instructor, catching the curious faraway stare, called out a name, once, twice, and louder on the third.
“Huh? What?” A smattering of giggles effervesced in the classroom over the one caught wandering the land of inattention. Embarrassment just reinforced low self-esteem.
Class followed class. Each instructor witnessed the occasional departures and affirmed possible twin reasons, lazy in motivation or incapable.
She ignored completing the take-homes of school for sanctuary – the square of her room, with back upon bed. Her addiction no one but she knew, the need for a world offering an ease of her pain.
Standardised testing surprised evaluators but brought no pursuit of reason or solution. New judgement threw away the lack of ability excuse and left the official assessment at laziness. If he possessed her intelligence, a counsellor declared, he would be president, the bold words constituting the whole of his effort.
She excelled without trying in some subjects; others she ignored. A semester of cut gym classes avoided the embarrassment of stripping with the wrong gender, yet she passed the class.