TEACHER'S PET

“Jane, did you have a question?”

“No, Ms. Fry, I'm okay, I just wanted to see if you would let me help Meg with Algebra, here, after school next week, I know she’s been struggling…”

“Penelope Jane—“

“Just Jane.”

“—did you just ask to help another student with school work? How big was it?”

“I’m sorry?”

“The fall you’ve clearly sustained? Why, for such a massive brain injury..."

“Okay, I probably deserve that but… is that a yes?

“That is a yes.”

“Thank you Ms. Fry, you won’t regret this, I promise.”

“Um, Jane! Before you go…”

“Yes?”

“I’m not sure how exactly to say this but I’ve noticed a drastic, albeit welcome, change in your attitude lately, & I just wanted to be sure everything is okay…”

“Oh! Yeah, of course, everything’s fine, I think I’ve just gotten over a really, really long headache, or flu, or something.”

No wonder everyone thought I was insane… I went from quiet & sullen, calm & ornery to bright & chipper, helpful & pleasant... & it was alarming to say the least, given that a certain white powder was not foreign to the Richie Rich. The truth might have scared them even more though… meeting death at a table in the woods? Yeah, I think I’d rather they thought I went skiing, if you catch my drift.

“Alright, well, I’m happy to hear it, because quite frankly you’ve been a delight & I’m sure your mother is happy too, even though she was concerned something was wrong when we talked at length this past parent-teacher night.”

Everyone loves to know they’re being talked about as some great disaster…

“I told your Mom that I think you’re quite bright & capable & most likely just going through something, as many students your age do. I told her to trust you & that this would all work out. I hope you won't make me a liar.”

I wish I had told her how much I appreciated her, right then & there — instead I just kind of stood there slack-jawed. I don’t think anyone had ever told me they trusted me before.

Bricks always waited at the door for me, after last period, & today was no different. I caught the color of his varsity jacket in my peripheral vision — which was also somehow incredible now — I was seeing all kinds of weird colors — so I said goodbye to Ms. Fry & headed for the door.

It’s painfully beautiful how everything always comes back the people you wish you appreciated more.