an object in motion stays in motion.
Stubborn, like the ever-present graphite smudges on her pristine, pink and white sponge-painted desk, or the grass stains on her knees. It was a term that was being used more and more often to describe Cara Leigh, a spunky ten year old with apple cheeks, considerable dodgeball skill, and good grades to boot. The baby of her family, Cara Leigh could’ve fallen victim to her hand-me-downs (usually a sports tee emblazoned with Stevie’s name, or a dress from her cousins) and lax rules -- again, the youngest of three -- but she’d yet to let it all sink in. Instead, when the sun had dipped too low for it to be comfortable playing outdoors, the Davies girl came inside to work on her homework.. On her own. Without complaint.

The week’s assignment sat in front of her in pieces, a veritable puzzle for her to solve. The task set before her was to create a shoebox, in which, her teacher could drop an egg from the school roof. The goal was to have the raw egg survive the fall. Yes, she’d already asked if it could be hard-boiled. She’d also asked about adhesive. Her hand had shot up in class a third, fourth, and fifth time, asking about the rules of the contest, about the building’s height and how many attempts they’d get. Could they use only household materials? What was the prize?

Cara Leigh Davies was stubborn, but boy, was she was inquisitive.

She worked tirelessly over the next few days, tongue stuck out the corner of her mouth and glue on her hands, trying to figure out the best way to ensure the survival of her box’s tiny passenger. Much to the chagrin of a few neighbors, she had her brother Stevie chuck a few prototypes out the bedroom window and onto the driveway. Dad didn’t appreciate the splattered egg yolk on his Buick, but if it was for school, mom had reassuringly explained, little Cara Leigh couldn’t get in trouble. Truth be told, Stevie had laughed until he had tears in his eyes. He had gotten in trouble for that.

Still, the assignment wasn’t complete. She’d broken approximately half a dozen eggs, and every drop seemed to hit harder than the last. Red-faced, Cara Leigh marched her way back to the dining room table after attempt six, and all but threw her box in the garbage can. She did throw her box, true to Davies form, but when it hit the plastic rim of the can, it wavered and toppled precariously to the ground, like a feather. Like she’d been shocked with a prod, Cara raced to pick up the box, and scraped its contents into the trash. By adding things, whizbangs and protective features to the box, she’d been doing it all wrong.

Cara bolted around the house, sliding down the hallways in her Backstreet Boys socks, with one last trick up her sleeve. Unlike true Davies form, it seemed, she had cleaned up her mess.. And was dead-set on building something better.

She found a smaller box -- one for her sneakers, and not Stevie’s -- and filled it with things like packing peanuts, water balloons she’d filled herself (with air, not with water), as much and little as humanly possible to protect the egg. Cara secured two plastic grocery bags for herself from mom’s latest trip to the store, creating two small parachutes that she’d punched through the top of the box to slow it’s fall. When she’d placed the sock-wrapped egg in the center of the whole contraption and sealed it shut, there was little more Cara had convinced herself she could do. This ugly-looking Jordan box seemed to hold all her fourth grade hope.. And when that egg survived seventeen-year-old Steven Davies’ well-aimed throw, the whooping cheer that came out of his little sister was something worth of the Hallmark channel.

Cara Leigh Davies, the stubborn one, ended up winning a gift certificate to Blockbuster Video.. Ahead of both the fifth and sixth grade science classes.