Jonathan was nowhere in sight when we sat down to dinner. “Sorry,” Janie said, checking her cell phone, “He texted that he’s running late. He’s been at the library studying.”
“Wow, on the first day of school?” I asked, “Homework already?”
“He’s in AP classes,” Janie explained. “They had summer reading and they have a test next week in his history class so a group of them are studying.” Hailey rolled her eyes at me.
I hoped Janie hadn’t seen that.
When Jonathan walked in the door a few minutes later, Hailey jerked her head in his direction fast enough that I knew despite her aloof exterior, she was as anxious I was about this dinner going well.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Jonathan. He was a tall, bookish sort of boy. He had straight brown hair that hung in his eyes and had horn rimmed glasses. He dressed like a preppy boy heading to the Ivy league and after we talked for a little while, I realized that was probably exactly where he was headed.
He politely referred to me as Mrs. Wilson, he respectfully addressed his parents and even laughed good-naturedly at his dad’s jokes which were not very funny. Best of all, he was kind to Hailey. He asked her about her first day and which teachers she’d had for which classes. He seemed to have either had all of her teachers or he knew of others who had. Pretty soon he had her laughing about Mr. Miller, the quirky history teacher who balanced on the balls of his feet while he lectured the class.
Janie and I exchanged happy glances as we watched them interact. This was exactly what Hailey needed! I was grateful to Janie and sure that our families would be wonderful friends. As I polished off the last of my chocolate donut, I felt more serene than I’d felt in weeks. Seeing Hailey laugh and smile rather than glare and complain was good for my soul. We sat around the table and visited a little longer then I told my girls we’d better head home. Jonathan glanced at the time and said, “Oh, that’s right. I have chess club.”
“That’s right,” Janie said. She turned to me and said, “They’re so busy, aren’t they?”
I smiled back but Hailey wasn’t really busy at all. I wished she were busy. Maybe some of Jonathan's involvement would rub off on her.
As the three of us walked back up the street, Macy told me about the pet gecko that was in her classroom and how much she loved her teacher. Hailey was silent again.
When we got home, I sent Macy upstairs to brush her teeth and pick out her clothes for the next day.
“So,” I said to Hailey, “that was nice.”
“It seemed like you and Jonathan had fun talking,” I ventured. “Maybe you two will be friends.”
“I don’t think so,” Hailey said distastefully. “He’s such a nerd.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Honestly, chess club?” she said, “And who goes to the library on the first day of school. Pathetic.” Hailey glowered at me and turned and walked upstairs to her bedroom and shut her door.
I sighed and the weight that had previously been lifted from my shoulders landed squarely back in place.
Check back tomorrow to see how Amy deals with the curve balls life throws her way!