Every Saturday morning was the same. From the time she turned 12, there was only one place where you could find Loren Matthews.
While other children were out playing in the street, their robust laughter penetrating walls and windows, Loren’s face contorted at the mere mention of leaving the house to go play with them.
Instead she sat in the middle of her cache. Like a paleontologist in the midst of uncovered remains or a zealot in the middle of her studies, Loren pored over magazines as if they were ancient scrolls. Her brand of hagiography confounded her parents.
“These are your genes,” her mother whispered to her husband one morning over coffee.
He shook his head.
“I was never this dedicated to any pursuit at her age,” he responded. Had he been honest, he would admit he was slightly jealous that he didn’t even have that level of focus now.
Saturday after Saturday, Loren flipped through magazines, jotted down notes in a spiral ring notebook, and drew unintelligible pictures.
Her parents refrained from worry, noting that if there daughter was content, her grades were good and she was simply reviewing magazines, then she must be okay–odd, but okay.
Several months later, it seemed to be just another normal Saturday morning until Loren unceremoniously stepped outside, foregoing her time of furtive note taking and magazine browsing.
Curiosity stole any possible questions from her parents until she returned about an hour later, hair disheveled, cheeks flushed, smelling like the outdoors.
“Seemed like you enjoyed yourself today,” her father said, nonchalantly. In actuality, he had been practicing that line as he and his wife peered out the window, watching Loren play with neighborhood children.
“Yeah,” Loren, said out of breath. She grabbed a cup off the counter and filled it with water, drinking as if she might be dying of thirst.
“That’s great, honey!” Her mother had read a recent book on childrearing and positive reinforcement. “I’m glad to see you’re making friends.”
A quizzical expression crossed Loren’s face. She drained the remainder of the water, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
“They’ve always been my friends,” Loren said, “I just couldn’t spend Saturdays playing with them anymore until I finished my project.”
She headed back toward the front door.
“What project,” her parents asked in unison.
“I decided I wanted to create a magazine by the end of this year for my friends,” she called back to them. “I finally finished the first issue. I tried to save a copy for you, but I sold out within an hour.”
Loren was out the door, contributing to the Saturday morning laughter.
“Yeah,” her father said, his words catching on a twinge of jealousy. “At this rate, she’ll be in the Oval Office, running the country by the time she’s 17.”
“Strange,” her mother said in between sips of coffee. “I always pictured her on the Supreme Court.”