“Hush, children. We have a new student today. Please welcome Nina to our class.” Miss Bell declared as she patted the new girl’s shoulder. I saw the teacher move her hands funnily to the girl. Everyone craned their heads, whispering to their classmates. The brown-haired girl shyly waved to the class and did a strange motion of her hands.
“Miss Bell! Excuse me, Miss Bell!” A kid behind me shouted.
“Alistair, not so loud, please.” She cautioned with a lift of her finger to her lips.
“What was she doing with her hands?” He persisted. “Looked like she was flipping them everywhere!”
Miss Bell smiled. Nina looked at Alistair and Alistair crossed his arms tightly to his chest. I was really curious to hear what Nina said too. I expect the entire class did. We, especially me, leaned over our desks with our eyes wide open like saucers and ears tingling to hear the magical secret Miss Bell would grace us with.
“Nina is deaf. That means she can’t hear so she talks with her hands.” Miss Bell repeated Nina’s strange hand gestures. “This means Hello, nice to meet you!” The class ahhhhed and ooooohed.
Nina beamed a toothy smile. Miss Bell sent Nina over to an empty desk which was situated just in front of me. I glanced at Miss Bell who turned her back to the class and began listing the lessons on the chalkboard. Good. I ripped a paper from my black and white Composition notebook and scrawled a note addressed to Nina. Glancing up to see if Miss Bell was still writing on the chalkboard, I folded the note and slipped it over Nina’s shoulder.
Hello! My name is Mary Caroline. It is real nice to have you here in class. I would like to learn how to talk to you. Would you like that? I would very much like to be your friend. I am 7. What about you?
Your Truly, Mary Caroline aka Mary CeeCee.
P.S. You can call me Mary CeeCee if you want.
She jumped a bit and whipped her head around at me and smiled. She scribbled back on the back of the note and pressed a finger to her lips and handed back my note.
Hi Mary CeeCee. Yes, I would like to be friends with you too. I would like to help you learn. It is EASY-PEASY! I am 7 too!
We looked at each other and smiled. Nina giggled and so did I. I think I made a neat new friend who talks with her hands. Miss Bell led us through the boring-est math lesson I ever had in my life. Bleh. Even more boring than the time Billy did the polka with his pet turtle. Now, that was boring! I was glad when we finally went through the spelling lesson, I love to spell words. Some kids like to play games but I like to read words in a dictionary and say them aloud. The new vocabulary word of the day was ‘colorful’. That should be easy to remember. Full of color. Color! Color! After we copied down sentences with the word “colorful” in them, Miss Bell wanted us to draw pictures to show what ‘colorful’ meant and then she wanted to display our pictures on the corkboard in the classroom. We all were given a sheet of construction paper to draw on. I noticed Nina and I both picked pink. I pulled some crayons out of the Crayola box that the teacher left on the art counter. I scribbled and drew with such concentration I was sure I would have bitten out my tongue! At last, I was finished. I saw Nina and Jasmine standing at the corkboard wall where the other pictures were being tacked on with thumbtacks.
The pictures were colorful, I’ll say. I had drawn a rainbow with all of my favorite colors and a unicorn named Princess with a tiara on her horn running on the rainbow. There was a picture of Earth and little stick people with different colors holding hands all around the world. Little red hearts dotted above the heads like halos.
Nina grinned. She pointed to me, Jasmine, Cedric, and Alistair who was wrinkling his nose. “We are all God’s creation. Me. Mary CeeCee. Cedric. Alistair. And everybody!”
“You’re right. It is a colorful world.” Miss Bell sighed to Nina. We all looked at each other and giggled. Well, except Alistair who rolled his eyes.
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