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REALITY IS CHANGING ALL THE TIME
When Sibyl had asked her mother what the red-scrawled graffiti meant, Mom had come back with something about the disenfranchised and disappointed. The answer hadn’t stuck in five-year-old Sibyl’s mind, but the graffiti had.
She had first understood it two years later, when blue pants with flowers had been in, the coolest of the absolutely frigid things to have, until Janet, horrid Janet Gomez, declared that they were just so yesterday the day Sibyl finally got a pair.
Reality changes all the time. The trick was to be the one that changed it.
That was small change. When Sibyl was ten, she watched a complete war disappear, just vanish from the newspapers and the TV. Her history teacher was the only one who would talk about it with her, and all she would say was, lips pinched, “sometimes it’s not politically expedient to speak about something.”
But having been inoculated to it, Sibyl began seeing the way reality changed around every corner. Something that had been in a text book one year was not in next year’s book; slowly, the old versions vanished off the shelves.
She was the only one who appeared to notice when the results of an election changed overnight. But by then, she’d re-learned what Janet Gomez had taught her in second grade: the trick was to be the one who could change reality.
It took Sibyl until college to find a teacher. By then, she had already learned a few tricks of her own. If you walked as if your manner was the norm, she learned, people began acting as if it was, thinking you knew something they didn’t. If you said “everyone knows,” six people out of ten would go along with you.
And when you really wanted to change something, then you have to use all of that and a little bit of magic.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She stared down her roommate. “There’s nothing saying everyone has to go to college; there’s lot of good jobs out there for people with a high school degree.” She knew Stacy wanted to believe it. She knew the rest of the suite wanted to believe it. College wasn’t for them. It helped. Like the vanished wars, changing reality in a way that made people more comfortable worked better than making them uncomfortable.
But then, because she was really, really sick of her roommate, she added, “and there is absolutely nothing cool about those baggy pants. They just make you look lazy.”
It wasn’t so much that she found her teacher in college, actually – it was that the ripples as a quarter of the students in that school, and every other school nearby, dropped out and went looking for real jobs, attracted more than a bit of attention.
But that was just the beginning.
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