As a child growing up in Paris, my life was pretty normal. That is, normal in France. Compared to the average pasts of boys in America, mine was abnormal. I didn't play baseball growing up like they did. Instead, I learned how to race horses and clang swords. My parents wouldn't even permit me to join the French boy scouts. I believe it's because they didn't want me around the middle class. The school I went to only had the richest kids in Paris, few of which were scouts. While those boys were building campfires and tying knots, I was studying the Bible.
There were four of us growing up in our parent's château. Lancelot was the oldest. He was the big brother I was very fortunate to have in my life. Lance was always there for me when I needed help. Because he's experienced many things before me, I knew what to expect thanks to his guidance. A year younger was Gwenevere. She hated it when she was called by her full name and would always reply sharply, "It's Gwen!" When most girls in her class enjoyed ballet, she would rather be on a skateboard. My parents never approved of their daughter being a tomboy and their strict rules made her lash out often. At least that wasn't a problem for Morgana, my other older sister. As a little girl, she played tea party with her dolls and didn't mind getting dressed up. My parents would always ask Gwen why she wasn't like her little sister. Morgana would cause most of the trouble and Gwen would be blamed. Like the time she wanted to play with my mother's antique Barbie; she pulled the head off and told her parents that Gwen did it.
Then there was me; Arthur. All of our names came from medieval stories. Lance was the knight, Gwen was the queen, Morgana was the sorceress, and I was the king. My parents must have thought of me special to name me after a king. They often treated me like a king when I did as I was told.
My parents ran a chain of boarding schools in France, Italy, and England. The schools they owned were all Catholic schools with nuns and priests teaching students everything but evolution. My parents said that evolution was made up by atheists to explain how humans came along. Still, it made more sense that we come from a monkey than out of nowhere. The schools were always for separate genders. We would only meet up with the girl's school across the street for chivalry lessons.
After school two days a week, the four of us had private horseback riding lessons. We each had our own horses that lived in a stable in our backyard. I had a white stallion that I named Alice. After reading the Lewis Carroll classic, I've grown very fond of the name. When I was with Alice racing through the woods, nothing could stop me; I was free.
"Off to the castle!" I would say to her. "To slay the dragon and save the princess!"
Only in my dreams was there really a castle with a princess at the end.
Dreams; they were the one thing I would constantly think about. I would dream of being on the moon, exploring the pyramids, and living in cities in the sky. The more I dreamed, the more I wanted answers. My dreams always made me happier.
In science class one day, Sister Quinn was discussing how God made the earth in a week. My eyes were out the window looking at the clouds. They were looking for a city.
"Mr. Arthur." She slapped her ruler on my desk causing me to jump. "Might I ask what's so interesting out there?"
All the boys were looking at me. Since she was a science teacher, I thought I'd just ask her.
"How do people dream?"
"Excuse me young man?" she sounded angry with me over my little question.
"I just want to know how dreaming is possible." I said.
"And why would you want to know that?" she snapped. "Actually, you should know Mr. Arthur." She stood up in front of the class. "You see boy's, God give's us dreams to give us ideas; Ideas to enhance the future. Do you think Thomas Edison thought up of the light bulb himself? No. God gave him that idea in his dreams. And thanks to God, lighting our rooms is much safer."
Needless to say I was disappointed with her answer. I said nothing to her but went off to lunch. After lunch, I realized I forgot my jacket in her room and had to go back. When I got to the door, I could hear her talking to someone.
"And he asked me how people dream!" she spat. "Your own brother, one of my most obedient students, tried to stir my lesson!"
"He just had a question." Said Lance. "There's nothing wrong with wanting answers."
"Well he should have known!" the nun snapped. "Hell might as well just freeze over!"
"Look Sister, I don't see why you're so upset with him." Lance was being very polite. "He wasn't trying to teach the class."
"Well you tell your stupid little brother to wear his helmet next time he's on that horse, because obviously he fell and hit his head!"
"You know what," Lance swallowed. "He's not stupid, you're stupid! You're the one saying 'God did this, God did that!' when there's a more rational answer to everything! What's stupid is that you're telling these boys what to believe!"
I opened the door and walked in to retrieve my jacket, nearly in tears at what Lance said.
"Do you mean it?" I asked him.
"I meant every word." He said putting his arm around me. "Now Sister, if you ever say something disgraceful about him, or my whole family for that matter, I'll convince my father to fire you."
Lance lured me out of the classroom to the courtyard, where I cried on his shoulder.