She’s a genius, he thought, as the little girl’s hands whipped over the blocks. She folded them in her lap and he pressed the timer. 31 seconds. Unbelievable.
“Very good,” he said. “This next test is called pseudoword decoding.” He handed the test to her. She looked at him with unsettling green eyes surrounded by ferny black lashes.
“What’s the point?”
“This one tests word comprehension,” he said. “The way you process information.”
“I’m not asking that. I’m asking what’s the point of all this.” She waved her small, chubby arms. “This. All this.”
He sat back. Shit. I have no idea.
“Let’s just finish the test,” he said. He felt cold with apprehension. I can’t debate the meaning of life with a seven year old. The emperor is wearing no clothes; we all just pretend.
“You don’t know,” she said, with a slight narrowing of her eyes. Her beauty added to the strange spell she cast. “I thought you might have some idea, being a psychologist and all. It’s okay Mom doesn’t know; she hardly got out of high school. But I was hoping for something more from you. Here’s my list.”
She reached into her bright pink backpack, dug out a notebook and a Hello Kitty pencil. She pushed it toward him.
Her handwriting was terrible–fine motor skills not up to the cognitive challenge. The list began with:
He looked up, into her intent little face, and decided nothing but the truth would do.
“Do you know why you’re here?”
“I’m trying to determine that,” she said. “I have a hypothesis.”
“No. Here to talk with me, take these tests. The adults, your parents, your school, are concerned you’re depressed because you’re too smart.”
“Depressed? No.” she waved the pencil. “That’s for people who have reached a conclusion. I haven’t reached one yet.” She pushed the list at him again. “Read it.”
He picked it up. In her square, shaky writing was:
IF SO, WHAT’S THE POINT?
ROCKS: BREAK DOWN
STARS: BURN OUT
LOVE: FORGOTTEN (WHEN PEOPLE DIE)
GOD: WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE?
MATTER: CHANGES FORMS
PURE ENERGY: ?
“I’m looking for what’s eternal,” she said.
He sat back. Scratched his head.
“We all are. Everyone who is able to do abstract reasoning has to wrestle with these issues. Only most of us are older, and kinda realize, maybe it’s not that important.”
“How could it be ‘not that important’ if we only live an average of 75 years, and when we die it’s like we were never here? We should have a purpose, a reason for being.”
“That’s one conclusion,” he said. “Shows you have an achievement orientation, thoroughly Westernized.”
“What do you mean?” She chewed on the side of her Hello Kitty pencil.
“You might be smarter than me, but I’ve read more,” he said. “It’s called life experience, and you’re going to be scary when you get some. Anyway, some other cultures have concluded that we might just be here to experience the Divine; to just be aware and know, and sit with that knowledge.”
“Too passive,” she said, with a dismissive wave of the pencil. “That might be supported by logic but it doesn’t work for me as a reason.”
“Okay. You said you had a hypothesis. Tell me about it.”
“It’s this: I’m here to ask questions, to shake up the status quo, to wake people up.”
“Not bad.” He sat back, lacing his fingers over his belly. “You sure shook me up today. Also I agree with your conclusion; as far as we currently know, pure energy is the only constant that can’t be destroyed. So… what if we are eternal, because at a subatomic level, we are pure energy?”
A pause while she processed, not much of one. A huge grin broke across her face, revealing the gap where a front tooth was missing. She jumped up, spun around, laughed. She ran around the table, threw her stubby arms around him, momentarily like a normal little girl.
“Thanks. I needed that.” She put her hands on her hips. “Of course, I would have deduced that eventually, but I appreciate getting a jump on the idea now.”
“Of course,” he said. “Can we get on with the testing? We all have to have a purpose, and this is mine.”
Her IQ was 180.