The Legacy Commencement


In the fall of 1982, eleven-year-old Roman Lawrence sat alone outside the Dining Hall. He was nervous about starting school. He was the only child of Joel Lawrence, the new Botany Research Assistant at Aesop’s Institute of Maxia, a school for human and nonhuman Exponentia Conjectuses. 

Roman and his father had been living in a small town in the continental United States where Joel taught high school biology. The job had bored Joel, and he had happily and readily gave that up when he got the job offer from his alma mater. The proposal was only made more appealing by the fact they had given Roman a full scholarship. So now they lived on Mars, the Nesoi Islands’ main isle, found in a remote area off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.

Joel had missed his hometown and was glad to be back. Roman didn’t share his father’s feelings or excitement. He was sure that being a Communia, a student from a working-class family, coupled with the fact his father was on the staff would get him shunned. 

“Is anyone sitting here?” asked a handsome boy with cocoa brown hair and an Irish accent. Roman blushed bright red when he recognized who was speaking to him. It was Stefan Blake, an Opulentus from a prominent family. He and his family were always pictured in the society pages of the Chaucer Chronicle. Roman shook his head and quickly hid behind his Origins of Maxia textbook.

“Do I know you? Where are you from?” Stefan puzzled as he sat down. He was almost certain he’d seen him before, but he couldn’t remember from where. 

“I am a Communia so you may not want to be seen talking to me. I’m here because my father works in the library doing research for the Botany Department,” Roman replied. 

“Only my stupid sister Isabelle cares about things like that. My twin sisters Nadia, Natalie, and I love meeting people who don’t bore us senseless. I swear if my mother introduces me to one more girl like Isabelle I’m going to run away from home. She expects me to marry some Irish heiress.” Stefan scowled.

Stefan’s mother was overbearing, cruel, narrow-minded, and verbally and emotionally abusive. She’d made his life difficult from the word go. Until recently, his father had been around to act as a buffer. His workload doubled after he accepted a promotion at work. This made his capacity to intervene more seldom.

“You’re not what I expected. With your picture in the papers all the time I figured you’d be a bit full of yourself.” Roman smiled apologetically.

“Those pictures are a menace. The only thing they get me is unwanted attention from girls.” Stefan made a face. “I don’t care for girls. I think they’re silly.”

Roman nodded but didn’t speak. The truth was he was attracted to boys and girls, but he preferred boys. He would not tell that to Stefan of all people. Roman had a slight crush on Stefan, especially now that he’d met him. But, he didn’t want to dive headfirst into anything without getting to know him better.