The Red Phoenix

The Workshop

My mum was getting ready for her interview at Ace industries. It was a Monday morning and Mondays always meant more work for me at school. I was very happy for my mum but I knew I was going to miss her.

”Honey, Im gonna be late. ” My mum called out to my dad. I was downstairs having my breakfast when my mum called out to my dad. She already had her bags arranged in the car.

”Ill be there in a minute, ” my dad replied and turned to look at me, ”Hey Leo, you done eating yet? ”

”Almost dad. ” I replied putting my plate in the kitchen and washing it immediately. My dad raced downstairs and he was admiring my mum.

”Wow honey, you look… officially beautiful, and great at the same time! ” he commented as he kissed my mum. My mum looked at him with raised brows.

”What do you mean officially? Haven I always been beautiful? ” She said, flaunting her hair and giving my dad a seductive smile. You
e over thirty and you
e still flaunting that little beauty you have left. I thought to myself. My mum was stupendously beautiful but for a guy whos her son, its nothing much to me.

”Of course youve always been beautiful, but today you look… ” my dad sized her up again, ”Astonishingly beautiful. If it wasn for the fact that you
e in a hurry, I wouldn hesitate to have two more rounds with you. ”


At this moment I dropped the spoon in my hand and gave my dad a irritated look. What in the world is wrong with you two I thought to myself.

My dad looked at me, ”What!? Mind your own business kid. ” he said. My mum gave my dad a scornful look.

”What!? No, no more rounds for now. You just had four from last night to this morning. ”

I burst into laughter and quickly left the place before my innocent little mind gets corrupted. Im seventeen already so things like this is not new to me, but with parents around, it always sounds weird.

”I just can get enough of you baby, ” My dad said, ”I love you soo much. ”

”Awwwn, thanks. I just got the dress from the store nearby. ” she replied.

”Well, it looks great on you. ” Then he turned to face me. ”You ready kid? ” he asked. I gave him a disdainful look at first before nodding

”Well what are we waiting for, lets go, come on! ” He exclaimed. We got outside and my dad locked the door behind us. ”Here
e your extra keys, ” he said as he handed over the house keys to me since he has a spare. ”You comin by the workshop today? ” He asked

”Yeah, probably. ” I replied.

”Good. ” He said with a voice that sound like that of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Terminator . We went in and my dad started the car. The car was a Chevrolet Sonic. Its been four years since my dad has been using it and it got kinda old so my dad and I made a few modifications to it so as to look as good as new and also, almost living up to its name. The plan was that my dad would drop me at school and drop my mom at the airport where shell board a plane to Leon City directly.

”So, you gonna stay in an hotel there? ” my dad asked. ”No. Ill stay with Stacey. She and I talked on the phone and I told her about the interview and she realized that the company is close to her house. ” She explained.

”Well that makes sense, ” my dad replied. ”At least we don have to worry about hotel expenses there. ” My mum nodded, then turned to the backseat to check on me. She saw me looking outside the window. I was lost in thought. I kind of do this every Monday. Scanning my brain for the days schedule, checking if I didn forget anything, thinking of how stressful today will be, etc.

”Whats wrong Leo? ” She asked with curiousity in her voice.

”Oh me, nothing. Its nothing Im fine… Im just… Im just gonna miss you you know. ” I said. It was part of my thoughts too.

”Don worry sweetheart. Itll only take a less than a week and then Ill be back home okay? ”

”Okay. ” I replied. I felt tears forming in my eyes. What are you 11 years old? Pull yourself together Leo. I scolded myself.

We got to my school. I got down from the car and closed the door without looking back. In my imagination it felt like I was about to enter Hell only that Ill always come out from this one unlike the Biblical Hell.

I bid my mother farewell as the car drove off. I could feel that in her voice she felt like she didn want to let go. I didn want to let go of her and neither, but circumstances make us do things against our will sometimes.

Before I became aware of where I was, I felt a hand grab my shoulder. ”You know, Im kinda gonna miss her too. ” The voice beside me said. It was Mason. ”But… ” he added ”Shes gotta do what shes gotta do brother. ”

” I know. ” I said. We both face the school buildings front.

” Oh Great Sunshine City High. ” Mason said looking at the schools name as he always does every morning ”When shall thy name sour beyond thy greatness? ”

”Dude, ” I said with a look of disdain, ”First offs, you
e terrible at poetry. Second, you
e embarrassing me. And third, how many times will I tell you that thats just weird? ”

”Come on man. I was just trying to express my feelings for the school. ” He said using a spanish accent… he is not Spanish.

”The Mason I remember hated the school ” I scoffed and gave him an unamused look.

”I don hate the school, I just dislike some of the teachers thats all, ” He said then I gave him a long gaze. ”Okay, maybe most of the teachers ” he admitted, ”But that is not what Im referring to. ” He continued in his Spanish accent as we headed to my locker

”Okay then what are you referring to? ” I asked with a smirk. I was uninterested in his reason but I still wanted to hear he wanted to say.

”I was referring to the school itself. The facilities, the students, the clubs— ” he continued with his weird spanish accent

” Okay I get it. Just stop with the Spanish accent. Its annoying. ” I interrupted. I was irritated at him doing something that makes him sound annoying.

Mason gave a big sigh. ”For a second there you forgot about your mum. ” He said.

”So that was your plan, make me forget my sorrows ” I said, laying emphasis on the word sorrows. Mason did nothing but smiled and nodded. I was speechless for a while and then I thought of it as a good idea

”Thanks bud ” I tapped his shoulder in gratefulness. The bell rang and it was time for physics class for me. Physics is my favourite subject but I hate how stressful it can be sometimes and todays physics class is not going to be any different.

”Ill see you at class ” Mason said as he tapped my back and left.

”See you. ” I said as I quickly took the books I needed out of my locker. Its gonna be long day. I thought to myself. Then I shut my locker door.

We had mathematics in the morning but our old math teacher left the city so a substitute teacher, Mrs. Laurence, who happens to be our economics teacher, is taking us math until the school gets a new math teacher but its been a week and Mrs. Laurence is starting to grow on us… well, except of Willie who claims he hates math and no teacher in the world can stop his hatred for the subject.

”Good morning students. ” Mrs. Laurence greeted. ”Good morning Mrs. Laurence. ” We all responded in unison.

”How has your day been? ” she asked with a dashing smile on her face. She might be over forty five years old but shes still got the beauty in her face. I heard some guys saying they had a crush on her and Im pretty sure shes unaware. ”Our day has been all good maam ” a few of us replied.

”Okay, so this mornings class we will be talking about algebra. ” she said. It just keeps getting better and better I thought to myself. I was not a big fan of algebra because of how twisted it could be at the end of the day. You would always have to look after the variables and the signs too and if you miss a step, you end up getting the questions wrong. But because Im not a fan of algebra doesn mean I don know algebra.

”So, ” she continued, ”I know you have treated this topic before but I want to teach you the complexes of this topic and show you to apply it to our every day lives. ” She turned to write something on the board when suddenly she paused and another thing occurred to her.

”Hmm, lest I forget, I gave you all an assignment two days ago on circle geometry, ” she said, ”So heres what we
e gonna do… I will call everyone in this class to solve one question each and I will assign the questions you will solve since there are fifteen questions in the assignment and fifteen of you. So lets get started. Kelly, you first give me question number one. ”

Kelly took a chalk from the table and solved the question on the board. Shes the smartest among us all. I tried competing with her in chemistry once but I wasn so satisfied with the results because I got a B in he test and she got an A plus. Normally I get Cs or Ds but since I was determined to beat her, I got a B. Since then I decided to beat her in what I like and what I know instead so when it comes to Math, Physics, Economics and Biology I put up a hell of a fight for her. The thing about this competition is that she doesn know and doesn care about who and who isn competing with her.

I happen to know her grades either by checking behind her back, or asking who knows. Kelly happened to solve the question correctly just as expected.

”Good, that is correct! ” Mrs. Laurence exclaimed ”Jones you
e up. Question number two belongs to you ” Jones stood up and did his part even though it took him time but he still finished it. It all went on like that and then it got to my turn, ”Leonardo Anderson. You
e up. Question number fourteen belongs to you. ” she said, pointing the chalk at me.

I was probably her favourite student because she mentioned my name in full and she gave me the hardest despite I was suppose to be number eight. The thing about the final set of questions is that they get harder than the first set of questions and that was my case.

I took the chalk and solved the question. To me, solving circle geometry is like drinking water. Most times by just looking at the circle diagram I can give you the angle of every inscribed quadrilateral be it cyclic or noncyclic without doing much calculations. The problem I have is that I have to solve the questions not give the answers alone and that pisses me off sometimes. I finished up the question and returned the chalk to Mrs. Laurence.

”Very good Leo. Next, Noah your turn, ” she said, ”Give me question number eight. ” That was the question I was supposed to solve.

”I don think well ever get a math teacher as good as Mrs. Laurence. ” I said to Mason who sat at my left side.

He raised his brows slightly and whispered, ”Are you saying that because shes your favourite teacher or because you
e her favourite student? ”

I laughed, ”Mutual favoritism, ” I said, ”Maybe its both. But honestly, shes a good math teacher. ”

”Well, you got that one right bro. ” he replied.

”Shush guys, ” Tracy cut in, ”Pay attention. ”


I was at my locker picking up some stuffs before going to the cafeteria. After getting my food I was still trying to decide where to sit when I spotted James waving at me.

”Hey Leo. ” He shouted. I already knew what he meant and besides Mason and Tracy were there so there would be no use for me to sitting alone.

”Hey guys. ” I greeted. ”Hey man, ” James said, ”Hows it goin? ”

”Well, things have been smooth. ” I replied.

”So… ” Tracy said, looking at me like a a suspicious tiger, ”We heard your mums got a big job in Leon City. ”

”You heard right. ” I replied eating my spaghetti and glancing at Mason. Youve got a big mouth. I thought to myself. Mason was the only other person who knew about my mums new Job.

”Isn that a bit far? ” she asked with concern

”My dad said the same thing but she didn want to miss the opportunity. ” I replied.

”You shoulda seen his face this morning, he was almost crying like a baby. ” Mason said making a funny and babyish gesture with his face

”Oh God, ” I gave a frustrated sigh, ”Do we really have to do this right now? ” Tracy and James just giggled.

”Come on Mason. Leave Leo alone. ” he said but I could see how much he was trying not to laugh. He couldn hold it in so he burst into laughter with Mason.

”Oh, you too James. Both of you. Did you plan this behind my back ” I said pointing at the two of them.

”Guys give Leo a break. ” Tracy said softly

”Finally. Someone who is not making fun of me, ” I said with relief. Then Tracy turned the tables

”Wait are you sure he almost cried because Im having a hard time picturing Leo shedding tears because his mom went for a job interview, without laughing out loud. ” Tracy said almost bursting out in laughter

”And here I thought I had someone on my side, ” I said, slightly annoyed. Then she started laughing too. ”Hahaha, laugh it up, ” I said. Then I carried my tray, ”You know what, I think Imma go sit somewhere else. ” I said, standing up with my tray and turning to go

”Come on Leo, we
e all just joking here. Nothing serious. ” Tracy said still laughing. Her smile and laughter sometimes calms me down. I turned to sit down and before I knew it I found myself laughing with them. You know what they say, happiness is contagious.

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