I shut the door of my classroom quietly and slip into my seat at the back of the room. Even though the outside is grey with dirt, the inside is immaculate white and smells bitter, like cleaner. 29 of my classmates sit rigid, facing the front of the room. I settle in my plastic seat and hope nobody notices I've slipped in late.
"I see Miss Blackett has decided to grace us with her presence," remarks my teacher. I stare at the floor and blush, picking at the hem of my shapeless t-shirt.
"You do know it is unfair to arrive ten minutes late when everyone else does not get that luxury, therefore making things unequal?" My teacher says, standing stiffly with a note of anger in her voice.
I look up.
"You will arrive ten minutes early tomorrow morning to make up for this," she says adamantly.
I know there's no room to argue. I look at her straight in the eye. "Yes, I will."
"Good. Now please, open your history books to page 437 and 438."
Each of us opens our pale wooden flip-top desks and takes out our history books, plain white, inscribed in gray lettering reading History, Grade 11. I'm not sure why it has our grade on it- each book has basically the same content.
Opening the book and scanning the text, I see that it goes over our basic history.
I stare at the pictureless black and white page, using the time to think instead of read. I know the story.
Over two hundred years ago, a schoolteacher named Iasair realized just how unequal the world was while watching one of his students bully another. He raised awareness about this, but unlike so many other Anti-Bully projects, this evolved into something bigger. A quest by the people to create equality. Absolute equality. Everyone started to dress plainly and alike.
Over time, though the old generation died, the young kept the idea and started to mold it. They limited the number of children they had, so everyone had a roughly equal amount. Those who illegally had children over the limit had them taken away. They went to orphanages to people who could not have, but wanted, children. Women who did not give their lives to raising another generation worked instead.
Houses became all alike, and eventually, almost everything was manufactured one color- white. The people named it the color of equality and with it, renamed themselves: The Unem, or "One." Four leaders from each of the four regions meet twice a month. This is mainly how the country is run.
And according to my teacher, their legacy has continued on ever since.
The bell rings just as the people around me finish the last paragraph.
"Class dismissed, everyone. Proceed to Math."