My name, Yasmine, doesn't really mean anything. It's just a flower. I'm not a flowery girl. Some people would call me tough, others, a tomboy. However, I disagree with both. Why does a girl have to be a girly-girl or a tomboy? Why can't she just be ... normal?
But those weren't the thoughts in my head as I watched from a safe distance, in a tree, as a professor showed a class of students how to become invisible. "You must contradict the laws of nature in order to cast spells. Only Jades have figured out how to do that, and that is why we are called Jades. I'm sure you all know what a jade symbolizes?" the professor asked as shade danced across the professor's face, cast by a tall, skinny tree that reminded me of a growing teenage boy.
"I do!" a young boy shouted.
"Raise your hand, Randolf!" the professor scolded, smiling. "What does it mean, then?"
"Wisdom! And, er, peace, I think."
"That is right," the professor said. I had come to like the professor, always smiling and always encouraging. Everyday, from my perch in the tree where I could see the courtyard where the magic lessons were taught, I grew more and more familiar with the students and the professors that came there. "A jade," the professor continued, "according to the official Jadian thesaurus, represents balance, peace, and wisdom. It is also legend that if you carry one in your pocket, it shall deflect negativity. It may, for all we know. Of course, it might also be psychological. But that I shall save for another lesson. Back on topic, invisibility is actually one's body vibrating so fast that only Lucky-daddies can see them. Even then, Luckydaddies can only see a glimmer in the air."
"You mean they aren't magical?" a small girl shouted. I had noticed she always shouted, though I couldn't possibly guess why. Little kids, I thought. An annoying fly buzzed around my head, and I batted it away. Doing so, I nearly fell from the tree. I thought I saw the professor glance up, but by the time I had regained my balance and I could actually look, nobody was looking at me.
"That is correct, Lydia," the professor resumed. "Actually, Luckydaddies earned their name before the science behind invisibility was understood. They simply process more frames a second than Jades and humans and other Scareydaddies. But I really should be teaching you the spell, not the history behind it. That's a job for your history professor, not me. Anyhow, It's rather simple, children. First you have to get a wand from this bin," - here I watched as the professor held out a bin with different sized wands. When they got to age, I knew, they would go to the wand shop and get a sized wand that fit them.
I, however, am an outcast Jade. I never got a sized wand when I came to age. And all the spells I know come from watching the professors in the courtyard teach classes on magic. Seeing that this spell included a wand, which I didn't have, I began to lose interest. I plucked a dark green leaf that reminded me of a star from the tree. I ripped it in half, then in quarters, and then into eighths. Meanwhile, the professor continued to talk.
"No, Jessie, that wand's too big for you. Try this one. Mattew! Be gentle with these. If you break one, you owe me 100 cahjbres!" Anyone could tell the professor was joking, by the smile on her mouth and the joke in her voice. "Anyways. Have you all got one? Good. Hold them like this," she demonstrated, holding the wand - that I thought looked awfully like a straight stick - out in front on her. "Now twist it so it faces you. Focus, find a quiet deep within you. When you feel that, whisper 'invisibility'. Right. Try to find your quiet."
I watched, interested again. I wonder if it'll actually work? Soon I heard the professor mumble invisibility, and then she disappeared, leaving a shimmer for a millisecond. It looked like heat reflecting off the roof of a house on a hot day, before she disappeared. Some of the older ones followed suite, while the younger ones seemed to go blurry before coming back into focus. Only one young one, Mattew, managed to actually disappear for several seconds. "Good job, Mattew!" the professor called from nowhere, literally. I watched as first she, and then the older ones who had disappeared, came back into focus. If only I had a wand, I yearned.
The professor helped her students practice that spell a couple more times before dismissing them from academy. "Have fun on the weekend children! Oh! Rosa, will you stay here? I have something to ask you. See you, Lydia!"
"Bye!" Lydia shouted. I couldn't help but giggle at her
A tall girl, probably about ten, waited behind the rest. What round glasses she has, I mused while I took her in. Her hair reminded my strongly of a smoke-free fire, her eyes hidden from view behind some stray wisps of hair.
"Rosa!" the professor beamed. "I was wanting to find someone to lead a child run charity, called 'bring back bonnies'." Bonnies, I remembered, was a term used to describe poor children, usually girls. In other terms, myself. "Anywho," she continued, "I though you would be perfect! Seeing, as, of course, the latest leader retired as he was ... fifteen? I think. Wouldn't you be perfect, I thought. Oops! I already said that! Well? Would you do it for me? All those poor children out there," here she paused. I almost felt as though she were talking about me. "All those poor children must desperately want to come to school. I know I always did. And then the charity helped me out! It was the best thing that ever happened to me." I couldn't help but wonder if the charity might let me go to school. But I pushed that thought away, too proud to let the idea manifest itself. The professor continued, "Come on! Say you will!"
Rosa smiled shyly. "Surely, Miss Lepra, you should choose someone else?"
"Come on!" the professor, or apparently Miss Lepra, prodded. This shy girl, Rosa, was the first person I had ever heard anyone call the professor by her name. Everyone else simply called her 'the professor'. I rolled the thought around in my mind.
"Well ... ouyja." Rosa gave in.
Ouyja indeed! I thought. I guess 'yes' must be the English word for it. Isn't 'oui' the French word, or something?
I waited until Rosa and Miss Lepra - who I still thought of as 'the professor', disappeared into the academy building, before descending the tree. Deep in thought, and a bit less carefully than usual, I began to follow a dirt path towards the forest of N'ohia, which I called home.