I wonder if anybody else would like to join my club. No, that would ruin it! My club is about not needing clubs! It’s about my life being important enough, interesting enough, fun enough, that I don’t need anybody else.
Startled, Sara blinked as she came back into the awareness that she was standing in front of the bathroom sink, blankly staring into the mirror, with her toothbrush half-heartedly moving around in her mouth.
“Are you going to stay in there all day? Let’s get moving. We have lots to do.”
* * * * *
“Sara, did you have something you wanted to say?” Sara jumped up, becoming aware again as Mr Jorgensen said her name.
“Yes, sir. I mean, about what, sir?” Sara stammered while the other 27 students in her classroom snickered.
Sara never understood why they took such delight in someone else’s embarrassment, but they never failed to do just that, laughing raucously as if something actually funny had happened. What is funny about someone else feeling bad? Sara just couldn’t sort out the answer to that, but now wasn’t the time to ponder that anyway, for Mr Jorgensen was still holding her in the unbelievable spotlight of discomfort while her classmates looked on with exaggerated glee.
“Can you answer the question, Sara?”
Why is he being so mean? Is this really so important?
Five or six eager hands shot up around the classroom, as show-off classmates took further delight in making Sara look bad.
“No, sir,” Sara whispered, slipping down into her seat.
“What did you say, Sara?” the teacher barked.
“I said, no, sir, I do not know the answer to the question,” Sara said, a bit louder. But Mr Jorgensen wasn’t finished with Sara — not yet.
“Do you know the question, Sara?”
Sara’s face flushed red with embarrassment. She didn’t have the slightest idea what the question was. She had been deep in her own thoughts, truly in her own world.
“Sara, may I offer a suggestion to you?”
Sara didn’t look up, because she knew that giving her permission or not giving it wouldn’t stop Mr Jorgensen.
“I suggest, young lady, that you spend more time thinking about the important things that are discussed here in this classroom, and less time gazing out of the window, wasting your time on idle, needless thoughts. Try to put something in that empty head of yours.” More laughter.
Will this class never end?
And then the bell, finally the bell.
Sara walked slowly home, watching her red boots sinking into the white snow. Grateful for the snowfall. Grateful for the quiet. Grateful for an opportunity to retreat into the privacy of her own mind as she began her two-mile walk home.
She noticed that the water beneath the Main Street bridge was nearly completely covered with ice, and she thought about sliding down the riverbank to see how thick the ice was, but decided to do that on another day. She was able to see the water flowing beneath the ice, and she smiled as she pondered how many different faces this river showed throughout the year. This bridge, crossing this river, was her favourite part of her walk home. There was always something interesting happening.