I blink 3

I’ve barely taken out my homework for the day when I notice Dad standing at the door to the cafeteria. Miss Velma is equally startled, but allows Dad to sign me out as I hurriedly cram things back into my backpack. I’m excited; normally I have to stay at the after-school program for a couple of hours, sometimes longer. Then we get into the hallway. “Uncle J died today.” And I’m crying harder than I can ever remember, because now I know what death means.

I blink

School started two weeks ago, but today is my first day in Mrs. R’s classroom. With so many kids in fourth grade, the district hired a new teacher and pulled kids from all of the other rooms to make a new class. Until today, I always walked to the end of the hallway once I got off of the bus. Today, I turn down the same hallway and walk all of ten feet into Room 23. I remember a fleeting glimpse of the space as I left on Friday; I saw the person I now know as Mrs. R standing on a chair to hang things above the rear chalkboard. The room is bright and a lot less crowded than I’m used to, which is nice. Mrs. R stands at the front of the room to greet each student as we come in. She’s short; at the age of 9 the top of my head is already past her shoulders. But she has a huge smile and kind brown eyes. I know I’m going to like it here.

I blink

I’m standing in the dining room. The sheet music is in front of me and my flute is in my hands. I adjust my fingers on the keys and lift the instrument to my face, settling it against my lower lip. As instructed, I’ve read the music, a simple exercise in the book, through twice, fingering and counting the beats out loud. Now I get to try to play it. All I’ve produced since I began learning a month ago is a faint whistle, but Miss V, my teacher, says I’m making good progress. I take a nice deep breath, set my lips, and blow. Surprisingly, delightfully, a beautiful B-flat rings out. I did it!

I blink

Prior to fifth grade, I thought that crutches looked like a lot of fun. As I struggle down off of the school bus, I snort at the thought. After a week of using the things, I’ll be glad to be rid of them. It’s not like I even got a cool story to go with why I need the things; in the space of twelve hours, I smacked my knee off both a doorway and my desk at school. That led to my first set of x-rays and the crutches. Hopefully, there won’t be a repeat of this experience anytime soon.

I blink

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