AVERSION: Sophie’s Aversion By Maggie Robertson

Week 6 Word: AVersion
Word Count: 494

Sophie’s Aversion
Maggie Robertson

Aversion! What kind of a mean, sadistic teacher gives a 7-year-old a word like “aversion” for writing a story? Other kids in Sophie’s second grade class got words like “family” and “pet” and “summer.” But Mrs. Hughes assigned Sophie the word “aversion.” Sophie thought Mrs. Hughes had it out for her, she always seemed to get the difficult assignments. Even her twin brother, Seth, got an easier word. Although, to be honest, she didn’t really think she’d want a word like “turnip.” Perhaps he was the one Mrs. Hughes didn’t like, and maybe Mrs. Hughes even had an aversion to turnips.

Of course, Mrs. Hughes understood what Sophie did not yet know; her vocabulary skills were far beyond second grade, and she was capable of so much more. Sophie tried on words like they were hats. Some fit her perfectly and she wore them often. Others she deemed too trendy, too simple, or just plain uncomfortable. There were words she outgrew, and those patiently waiting for her to grow a little more.

Even when she was certain what a word meant, Sophie liked to read the official definition for inspiration. She pulled the old Webster’s Dictionary out from under her, and sank back into her seat. That was one advantage of being kind of small for her age, she got to sit on her own personal reference system.

“Aversion: a strong feeling of not liking something.”

Well, she had an aversion to Snollygoster P. Waddlestump, that awful boy who thought he was the greatest simply because he was born. He claimed his mother always told him his was the best birth ever; no other baby ever had a better birth… Blah, blah, blah, Pffffft!

“Sophie, is there a problem?”
Oops, she must have said that last part out loud.
“No, Mrs. Hughes.”
(Anyway, if he had such a great birth, why on Earth did his mother give him that name?)

“Aversion: a settled dislike.”

She had an aversion to being told what to do. She didn’t mind being dirty, but had an aversion to being sticky. She had an aversion to doing homework; it was such a waste of time when she knew it all already! She even had an aversion to turnips, just like Mrs. Hughes.

Other words in the dictionary caught her eye, and she wandered through the pages, exploring her options.

“Bruin” Too small.
“Castrametation”* Too big; she’ll come back to that one when she’s ten.
“Maculation”** Ooh… quite fetching!

Suddenly her time was up and Sophie realized she hadn’t written one thing. She waited until last to turn in her blank paper.

Mrs. Hughes looked at Sophie “I think you forgot something.”
“Did you know that a zarf is a holder for a coffee cup without a handle?”
Mrs. Hughes smiled. “I’ll give you until tomorrow to finish.”

After Sophie left, Mrs. Hughes retrieved the dictionary from Sophie’s desk. It was time to go shopping for a few new hats.

* Castrametation: the art of laying out military camps.
** Maculation: act of spotting, a spotted condition.

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