The Bandbox Hat
Previously: The charm ceremony finished and SarahJane was not offered a charm. Austin walked her out and told her she was too nice and likeable and the show was more for his actress mother to be in front of an audience than it was for him to find love. He liked her but she had to go.
It took a couple of days of Grey’s Anatomy reruns and intense Hershey’s Kisses therapy, but by the following Monday I had recovered somewhat. Enough to go out anyway and get the mail and begin to think about the rest of the summer.
Even though a lifetime of events had happened to me since school let out for the summer, it was only late July. I had three more weeks before I had to be back in the classroom.
I walked into apartment Monday afternoon and stopped as I heard April’s voice pleading. “Please come home. Or at least for a vis—” The answering machine cut her off. That must have been quite a speech. I flopped down on the couch.
If I had the energy I’d just erase her whole message. I couldn’t even conjure up the oomph to delete her from my machine, much less drive four hours for a visit. I pulled a throw pillow close and let myself drift to sleep.
I forced my one eyelid open.
“Auntie SarahJane, are you there?”
It took a mighty shove against the couch cushion to get me upright but I managed it. It sounded like April but I was still alone in my little living room.
“Why won’t you answer?” The plaintive voice sounded from the answering machine. I sighed and reached for the phone.
“I’m here, Punkin. How are you?” I forced a note of cheer into my voice but even I could hear its falseness.
“Where have you been? Why haven’t you called me back?”
“April, you knew I was out of town and couldn’t make or return any phone calls. I told you that when you and Nathan came down a few weeks ago.” And Nathan stayed on the show and wooed everyone until they decided to keep the fun and cute Richter and send his loser sister packing.
“I know.” She sniffed. “But I thought you’d call anyway.”
Ahh, the logic of kids. “I’m sorry, Sweetie. What did you want to talk about?”
“Well, here it is … I was wondering if I could come visit you?” She hurried to convince me. “I know you’re busy with the show and everything. But wouldn’t it be good for them to see how you interact with children? And it’s so convenient because I’m a child and I already know you so you could interact with me.”
Her words tumbled over each other in a rush and she did something I thought was impossible just two minutes ago. She made me laugh.