Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Space (01/23/06)
- TITLE: Cubbyholes
By Garnet Miller
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“Are you waiting for someone?” Daphne asked.
“I’m waiting for my dad.” The boy hung his head.
“Are you sick?”
“No, I got in trouble in class,” he admitted.
Daphne smiled. “I remember those days. I used to be a real handful when I was your age.”
The boy eyed Daphne, unimpressed.
“Sorry—what did you do?” she asked.
“My teacher said that I stole this guy Thomas’s hat, but I didn’t. I told her that the hat was in my cubby but she accused me of lying. Thomas said he never gave the hat to me. My family just moved here. This is only my second day.”
“How do you know which cubby is yours?”
“They all have numbers,” he explained. “Mine is number twenty-one. I found out my number yesterday at the end of class.”
He reached in his pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper. Daphne took the piece of paper and examined it. Just then, the door to the principal’s office opened.
“I need to see Nathan Price.”
The boy started to stand when Daphne spoke.
“Excuse me, Mrs. Lane; may I speak with you first?”
The principal nodded and Daphne walked into her office. Mrs. Lane shut the door and they both sat down.
“My son is Thomas Johnson. His teacher said that someone stole his hat.”
“Yes Mrs. Johnson, the boy in the waiting area is the one accused.”
“I know. He told me the whole story. I don’t think that he meant to take the hat. Look at this piece of paper he gave me.”
Daphne handed the paper to the principal.
“Nathan said that the hat was in his cubby. He just received his cubby number yesterday afternoon. He said his number was twenty-one, but the paper says twelve. He transposed the numbers and thought that Thomas’s cubby belonged to him. Nathan may be dyslexic.”
Mrs. Lane thought about what Daphne has told her. “You may have a point. I think that this is worth looking into.”
Mrs. Lane walked over and opened the door. Nathan’s father had arrived while they were talking. He sat next to Nathan; his face was ashen and tight. Nathan’s head once again hung low.
“Mr. Price, will you please come in for a moment?” the principal asked.
Quickly, he walked through the door.
“Mr. Price, this is Mrs. Johnson, the mother of the boy whose hat Nathan is accused of stealing.”
Mr. Price lunged forward and grabbed Daphne’s hand. “I am so sorry for what my son has done. He knows that stealing is wrong. I don’t know what came over him.”
“He didn’t really steal the hat, Mr. Price,” said Daphne, a little startled.
“I…I don’t understand?” He looked at Mrs. Lane.
“We have discovered that Nathan may be dyslexic. It’s when the brain switches numbers and letters around from their original order. He honestly thought the hat was in his cubbyhole, but it actually belonged to Thomas. His number is twelve, but when he looked at the paper he saw twenty-one.”
Mr. Price sat heavily into one of the armchairs. “I’m relieved. Thank God he didn’t steal the book. What can we do about dyslexia?”
“Well, we can test him to make sure that is the condition and then there are resources available here to help Nathan to learn to see his numbers and letters normally.”
“Can I go? I want to take Thomas home and explain everything to him,” Daphne said.
“Yes you can. And, thank you for helping us find out the truth,” said Mrs. Lane.
“Children need a chance to be heard just like adults. I was glad to help.”
Before she left the outer office, Daphne reached down and lifted Nathan’s head. “Everything will be okay now. Your father knows that you didn’t steal the hat.”
“You told the truth.” Daphne smiled and left to get Thomas.
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