Opening the door slowly, Wrigley peeked inside to see if her mother was home. She gulped when she saw Mom sitting at the table. Wrigley took a deep breath and entered the kitchen. “Hi Mom, how was your day?”
The room was silent. Somehow, Mom managed to raise just her right eyebrow as she glared at Wrigley. She had been perfecting The Look for years. “Is there something you want to tell me?”
A recent memory flashed in Wrigley’s mind; her older brother, Camden, got The Look and that same question. Camden quickly confessed to skipping school. Later, Wrigley overheard Mom and Dad laughing. They had no idea he’d played hooky, they were just asking about his grades.
Squirming, she thought about her choices. A quick glance at Mom’s face made Wrigley realize why Camden caved so easily. “Mrs. Sullivan caught me and Riley passing notes.”
Folding her hands under her chin, Mom stared at Wrigley. “And …”
Wrigley looked down, “No recess for the rest of the week and she put my name on the Fifth-Grade Bad Choice Board.”
“I thought Mrs. Sullivan gives a warning before she puts your name up.”
“Uh, well, this is the third time I’ve been caught. I’m sorry Mommy.” Wrigley pushed her lower lip out and gave Mom her puppy dog look.
Mom gently tugged Wrigley’s lip. “Your look and calling me Mommy isn’t working. You talk to Riley all day. Why pass notes during class?”
“I don’t know.”
Mom grabbed a faded folder from the counter. “I want to show you something, but first no phone for one week.”
Scowling, Wrigley stamped her foot. “That’s not fair; I’m already getting punished in school.”
“But you haven’t learned your lesson!”
By now, Mom’s eyebrow was almost on top of her head; there was no point in arguing. Sighing, Wrigley put her hands on her hips. “Can I go now?”
“Oh dear, you still have an attitude. Plus, I want to show you something.” Mom pulled a paper from the folder and handed it to Wrigley. “I’m not sure why I kept this, but I think you need to see it. Sit down and take a look.”
Slumping into the chair, Wrigley grabbed the tattered paper and read silently.
Dear Beth, I’m in the libary taking that stupid test I missed cuz I was sick yesterday. I’m done with it but I dont wanna go back and listen to Harris go on and on about the stupid parts of a sentnce. He is soooo boring. So I thought I’d write you a note instead. Ha ha your stuck in there with him and I’m in here doing nothing but waiting for the bell to ring. Did you see Bob smiling at me during lunch? He is sooooo cute!!!! Ask Teri to ask Tom to ask Bob if he likes me and I’ll ask Marci why she’s mad at you. Well the bells gonna ring soon I better come back to class, get my junk, and hand in my test.
Wrigley tossed the paper down. “So, you wrote notes in school too. At least I’m not a terrible speller like you.” She glanced at Mom to see if there was any hint of humor in her eyes. She thought maybe she saw a small sparkle.
Mom smiled just a little. “There’s more, keep reading. There down at the bottom, it’s faded but you can still see the red ink.”
Wrigley squinted and read aloud. “Correct the spelling errors, fix the run-on sentences, and hand in corrected version tomorrow.” Wrigley laughed so hard her chair shook. “How did your teacher get it?”
Covering her face with her hands, Mom chuckled. “Maybe I dropped it on the floor or perhaps it got mixed in with my test; I don’t know. I was mortified when he gave it back to me the next day. He was the scariest teacher I ever had.”
“What did you do?”
"What could I do? I corrected it; I think it took three drafts before he approved it.” Both Mom and Wrigley were laughing now.
Mom handed Wrigley another piece of paper and a pen. “Mrs. Sullivan gave me this. Your spelling might be better than mine, but you still have some corrections to make. Also, you need to practice the proper format of letter-writing. You can start with an apology letter to your teacher.”
“No fair…” When Mom’s eyebrow started moving, Wrigley reached over and hugged her. “I love you, Mommy.”
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