The new school is not a runaway hit with the girls. Yesterday, as soon as they arrived home, Lark made her pronouncement: “The school is stupid.”
“And we are not stupid,” said Chloe.
“It’s a mismatch. We’re not returning.”
“We need a smart school.”
“We need NO school.”
Lark didn’t wait for her mother to respond but went running up the stairs to her room. Chloe had been about to tuck into the snack Eve had waiting, but she takes her cues from Lark. If Lark ignores food, Chloe does, too. She abandoned her backpack in the middle of the kitchen and ran after her sister.
This morning, Eve walks the girls over again. When she returns, she comes over to sit at the table where Mason and I are eating breakfast. Mason is eating eggs, bacon, and one of the date muffins that Eve woke up early to bake for the girls. I’m having one of my green seaweed and kale shakes.
“What did the principal say?” Mason asks.
“What could she say? The girls have to give it a chance, that’s all. It was their first day—of course they’d hate it. Everyone hates the first day of school.”
“That’s where you left it?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, what accommodations did the principal say they were going to make? How are they going to help give Chloe and Lark a chance to like it better?”
“Oh, that! Sure, sure.” Eve unwraps the paper from around a date muffin. She reaches over and takes a sip of my green liquid breakfast. “The principal said that starting today and for the rest of the semester, she’ll make sure there are Snickers bars waiting for the girls at their desks. And she’s asking the cheerleading squad to show up in their classes once an hour, you know, just to give them a little shout out. Keep their spirits up.”
Eve makes a face after tasting my drink. She hands it back. “That’s not good, Jane. You do know that, right?”
“So, Mason, we don’t have to worry anymore!” Eve says. “The cheerleaders will come with pom-poms. They’ll make a little pyramid and everything. They’ll even let Chloe climb on top since she’s so small. It’s all going to be fine from here on out.”
Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.