How to Make Your Dreams Come True

The problem with hard work is that it’s fundamentally boring to talk about. But I’m going to try.

Human Parts


Morning Sun, Edward Hopper

My teacher wants to see me after class.

I don’t know why. I have absolutely no idea. I’m 12 years old, and I’m not a troublemaker of any sort. I’m far too shy for that.

She scratches her nose as if she’s uncomfortable. It’s hot in the classroom, and I’m uncomfortable too.

“Your results came back from the English exam.”

I remember that we took an exam a few days ago, an international one. It’s supposed to test our ability in English. All the students speak English — we attend an English-medium school in a former British colony, but we have wildly varying levels of proficiency.

She says, as if it were a problem rather than an achievement, “You have a Distinction.”

I look at the certificate she hands me. It says my name right there, on top of a scoring key. I see that Distinction is the highest score.

“You’re the only student in the class that got Distinction. But don’t think this makes you special.”

I am lost, but she continues: “I’ve seen your attitude in class — you’re very arrogant. As arrogant as the devil. I don’t want…