The Exchange Student

by Lubrican

Chapters : Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | Epilogue


Cynthia Green picked up the next piece of paper and began to process it. Cynthia was thirty-two and thought quite often about how her life hadn't gone the way it was supposed to. After she had finished high school, she passed up college, quite sure that her good attitude and willingness to work hard would get her a job, and the promotions she already deserved. She did get the job, but it was an entry level clerk position in the building that housed the school board. It was minimum wage, but she could put up with that until someone noticed she should be an administrator. Almost two decades later, she'd gotten one promotion and had maxed out her earning potential. Time and again she was told she wasn't qualified for higher paying jobs, which required a college degree. Her arguments that she was fully capable of doing the work fell on deaf ears, though.

Which was why, these days, she was somewhat less concerned about things than she should have been. On the form she had just picked up was the name "Ruth Cummins." The next information was gender. There was a sloppy checkmark closer to the "m" box than the "f" box, but the name said it all. She processed the form, matching that name with one from the female list the Russians had sent. With a flourishing signature, she completed the form and tossed it in a basket. It would be picked up by the girl who had her old job, and mailed, extending a formal invitation for a Russian girl to come spend a year with an American family, as an exchange student at the Consolidated High School in Victorville, Kansas.

Three weeks later, Cynthia Green's Russian counterpart took the information and prepared travel documents for Nadia Valovitski, a seventeen-year-old student in a small town in central Russia. Looking at the American form, she idly identified the American name on it as a Biblical name. She spent a few seconds wondering why Russians so rarely gave their children Biblical names, even though a large number of them were involved with the Christian religion in one form or another. Wondering about things like that made the day seem to go past faster.

She walked the form to her supervisor and handed it to her.

Neither of them could know that Cynthia Green's casual identification of the American student as a female, based on the name, Ruth ... was incorrect.

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