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TEACHING MY BELLE THE ABCS by Oliver Gaywood

Annabelle always answered her aunts accurately, as abruptly and authoritatively as an adolescent. Their ambitious attempts to addle gone awry, the astonished aunts acted aloof afterwards, averting avuncular attention.

Boastfully, I birthed a bright and bubbly baby. Belle behaved brilliantly and blossomed beautifully. The bairn boosted brainpower by borrowing books before bravely badgering bigger brothers; battling, besting then beleaguering Bobby and Billy.

The clever child collected certificates: creative calligrapher, crossword completer, chess champion. Certain with challenges but clumsy with chatter, companions cold-shouldered the classroom chief.

My darling’s dad was delighted his daughter devoured details. Daddy diarised daily, diligently depicting developments: dilemmas debated, doctrines deduced, dissertations debunked.

Elsewhere, emotions were elevated by the enraged ears and eyes of early equals. Envy evoked as their enthusiasm eloped. Even equitable elders were earnestly embarrassed.

Friendships faltered and feelings faded, but our family’s faith was forever firm. Father felt fantastic forecasting future feats. He fuelled fate’s fires with fulfilling facts, fanned the flames with fables and fantasies.

The girl’s genius grew and grew. Good at geography and glorious with grammar, she was guided to grand goals as she gathered golden grades.

He hurrahed, not hearing his heroine’s harboured hopes: her hunger for a hip hairstyle and a humble hobby. He had high hopes for Harvard, however she hankered for a horned horse and a happy home.

I was immensely impressed — Ivy institution or not. I imparted infinite intelligence into an inspirational infant. Impossible? Inconceivable? Irrefutable.

Indecently, I idolised the incomparable intellectual; ignored the inferior imps.

My jealous juniors jostled for a jot of justness. Jovial and jolly, jesting and joking, their jubilance was jettisoned when my jewel journeyed into the joint. Their joy juxtaposed with jeering.

Kin gave no kindness nor kisses, only knuckles and knicks. The kid kept on, knowing that kudos knocks keenly for knack and knowhow, that knowledge is key.

Lessons in language and a love of libraries led to a learned and laudable lass. Not a lamentable lady who languidly loses her love of life; a listless life learnt from ladies who lunch, who laze, who leech — not liberated, leading ladies.

My mother made me miss the modern movement: “Make meals and mend materials. Marry a mediocre man and make that man merry.” Mundane matters for madeup mannequins.

My method motivates: Memorise melodies, maintain morals, master the mind. Make men move mountains.

No numbing natter.

No novelty nuisances.

No nonsense.

Our offspring will be outstanding. One is outstanding: onwards to outdo and outlast. Others observe and obey; their optimal output is only okay. Ours outshines and outrivals, overachieves and overwhelms.

Predictably, us proud parents pushed the perfect protégé, pleased with praise prised from piggish pouts.

Pa, particularly, prioritised — preferred, perhaps — the prized progeny. Pushed the poor pair to the periphery.

Queued in a quiet quarantine, a questionable quagmire, a quantity of queries qualified for quick-tempered quibbles and quarrels.

Robert reacted rottenly and rallied relations to rebel. A revengeful ruse rose into a ruckus, a rough rumble as Robert raged and regretfully rushed.

The sister stumbled and slipped, spun and swirled, smacked and splatted. Screamed and screamed and screamed.

Small savages silently scurried.

She slowly stilled, sitting splayed by the stairs, saliva spilling into streams. Skin sliced, skeleton shattered, skull split.

Surgeons said she’s safe but she should step slowly and skip school — shirk strenuous science, stressful studies and simple sums.

“She’s spasticated” shrieked a small scamp, sobbing sorrowfully into his sleeve.

Teachers toiled tirelessly, tutors tried tenaciously to train. They told the tricks of times tables and the tantalising tales of Tolkien and Twain. Then Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Tired and thwarted, terrible tantrums traipsed in.

Unnecessarily upbeat uncles ushered us in. Unfortunately, useless utterings were unable to undo the ugly and unwanted upheaval. The unkind universe usurped utopian understandings. University is unachieveable, as unlikely as an undergraduate unicorn.

Vindictive vengeance by vitriolic vigilantes vanquished the viable valedictorian. Vividly visualised victories vanish.

William whimpered — “We… we wasn’t… we weren’t…” — whispered what we all wanted: a world where we watched the weird and the wonderful, where we weren’t wholly watching the wonderkid. A world with worth. William wishes well, but wishes won’t work for our weakened warrior.

X-rays were explored by extra experts who explained the extent exceeded existing expectations.

As young as you are, you yawn. Yesterday’s yardstick is youthful yore. You yap, yelp, yell. Your yokel yowls yet to yield. You yearn, yet you yawn.

Zonked and zombified. Zeal zapped and zest zithered. The zenith zoomed to zero, zipped to zilch.

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