The Art of Learning
by Kristina England
It all started when Jamie dusted off her Encyclopedias.
She was in the attic with her seven year old son, John. She stared at the heavy texts and shook her head. Now you could read about Giraffes or Atlas Moths on Wikipedia.
“Mom, what are you going to do with all these books?”
“Either sell or recycle them.”
John flipped open one of the encyclopedias. He scanned the words briefly.
“Can I read them?”
Jamie looked at her son. She smiled. The boy was a bookworm. But by now, she would have figured him for a video game player like his dad.
Jamie shrugged. “Sure.”
The next day, John came bounding down the stairs.
“Mom, Dad, I just read about birds!”
Pete looked up and then glanced at Jamie.
“What in the world is he talking about?”
“Well, I was taking down the Encyclopedias and he wanted to check them out.”
“Oh, and what did you learn about birds, John?”
“I learned that they procreate through kissing. But not that kind of kissing. Their bodies come together and the male bird gives the female bird stuff.”
Jamie and Pete looked at each other. They both knew what would follow.
“So, then I read about humans.”
Okay, Jamie expected a question to follow the last comment. She hadn’t prepared for John to dive right in and learn.
“Well, I’m sorry, mom.”
Jamie held back a laugh.
“What on earth for?”
“Well, it must have been pretty painful popping me out.”
Jamie snorted. Pete didn’t look as amused.
“You were much smaller back then”
“Yeah, but wouldn’t it have been easier to have one of those C-section things?”
“Did the Encyclopedia tell you the details of a C-section?”
“Umm… I didn’t check.”
“Okay, well let me know what you find.”
John scurried up the stairs. Pete looked at Jamie in bewilderment.
“Find? Our son is going to be traumatized.”
“No he isn’t.”
“And why do you say that?”
“If that boy wasn’t traumatized by walking in on his grandparents last week, how on earth could words traumatize him?”
“I see your point.”
Jamie smiled. “Of course, we should probably tell him that your mother can’t procreate anymore.”
Pete rolled his eyes at her. “Let’s not and say we did.
Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her writing is published or forthcoming in Gargoyle, Haggard and Halloo, Linguistic Erosion, Pound of Flash, and other journals. Visit http://kristinaengland.blogspot.com/ for more on her writing.
Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal, and The BG News. He has also worked as a professional writer and editor in the medical publishing industry for several years. For the last 15 years Richard has also taught literature and writing at the secondary and post-secondary levels. He works much of the time with at-risk students.