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Jr. Tales: Stardust

Leeba Lichtman

My nose was tickling outside the door, but I held back the sneeze; I had to hear this. They were talking about me

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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We have to tell her, Esther. She’s a big girl and she can make this decision for herself. Let her take the responsibility!”

“I see your point… But Yaakov, you know her. She could just decide she’s had it with the whole situation and see this as an opportunity to escape.”

My nose was tickling outside the door, but I held back the sneeze; I had to hear this. They were talking about me.

“You’re absolutely right. And that’s where this comes in.” A pause. Then a gasp. “Yaakov! She’ll be thrilled… Where did you get that?”

I sneezed. A loud, emphatic, total-giveaway sneeze. The door opened.

“Shira.” Tatty looked at me, a quizzical expression that was sort of angry, sort of amused, and sort of surprised, all at once. I looked down.

“I… I…”

“I don’t need an excuse, Shira. I can see for myself what’s going on here.” He sighed. “Well, if you’re not sleeping anyway, let’s bring this discussion out to the dining room and we can talk about it properly.

When we had all settled around the table, Tatty began the discussion. “Mommy and I spoke to Mrs. Jacoby today. Don’t roll your eyes, Shira. She’s your principal. I know you have certain hard feelings about this, but a little more respect is in order. She feels that both you and the school could use a small… break from each other.”

“A break?” I stared dumbly. “You mean… I’m suspended?”

“No, not exactly…” Tatty shifted in his seat. “This is more of an… experiment, you could call it.” Two pairs of expectant eyes looked at me. They know I love experiments.

“Mrs. Jacoby thinks you’re incredibly bright, honey,” Mommy said. “We all met and decided you shouldn’t be in school anymore. Like you’ve told her — and us — many times, you’re bored there. You already know this stuff and don’t need a teacher telling you what to do. So we’ve agreed to do things your way. From now on, you’ll stay home and do things here, with me.”

My mouth felt utterly dry.

“Isn’t that great?” Tatty was smiling but there was a strange look in his eyes I couldn’t quite decipher.

I swallowed. “I— I guess so,” was all I could choke out. I pushed my chair back. “Thanks for letting me know.” I smiled weakly. “I guess I’ll go back to bed now.”


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