“Hey,” I yelled, “Where you running to?” I couldn’t immediately think of her name…
She stopped running, gasped for air and said, “Hi Mr. Rice, inhale-exhale inhale-exhale and repeat.” Hearing her voice was the tick needed to recall that her name, Alexis.
“Are you coming from school,” I asked?
“Uh-huh,” she nodded as her between gasps.
“I stayed after school to redo a math assignment, gasp, gasp. Mom knew about it, gasp. I was to call her when finished and she would pick me up…”
I interrupted Alexis and told her to, “Get in the car and relax,” finish telling me on the way home.
“Yeah so anyway, I earned a hundred percent on the redo,” said Alexis.
“Boy, that’s terrific, ” I replied.
Alexis continued…”I missed taking the test the first time because I got a little mixed up on my classes, on account of it’s a new school. Heck, it’s a new city and state too and the school is so much bigger than the little elementary where I came from. There’s a lot of construction going on at Clinton Junior High that wasn’t finished during the summer and August is still summer vacation time where I come from. So yeah, everything is new to me including beginning school in this month.”
“Well here we are,” and I turned left off of northbound Main Street into the drive of the condo complex.
“So anyway, I tried calling Mom but couldn’t – there was an error message on my phone. I started walking but then I didn’t want to worry Mom so I started to run and I’m glad you called me over because I didn’t know how I was ever going to cross that busy street.”
“Well you’re home safe now. Why didn’t you use the school phone to call your mom?”
“I just didn’t think of it. Bye Mr. Rice and thanks for the ride.” I hurriedly went up to our condo, turned the handle and pushed open the door.
“Hi Mom, I’m home!”
“Alexis? I thought you were staying after school for that redo test?”
Thinking it must be getting pretty late I asked, “What time is it, Mom?”
“A few minutes past three. I thought you were staying after school to retake that test?”
“I did Mom and I got one hundred percent on it.”
“So you didn’t have to remain after school or what? This is about the same time you normally get here.”
“Humph, really?” I asked, “Because I walked home from school, well most of the way. You know where that gas station with the green coloring is, on Main? That’s where Mr. Rice was and he took me the rest of the way, how far do you think it is from the school to that gas station?”
“I don’t know darling but you should’ve called me. I’ve got the cell sitting on my desk and the mute is off but it never rang…Why didn’t you call?”
“I tried Mom but it didn’t work.”
“So why didn’t you use a school phone?”
I sighed and looked out the window. “Well, it’s because I didn’t think of it, and because I like walking.”
“All that way?”