A New Life


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5. One Last Visit To Summer

The first day of school is always a Thursday or Friday. I like it because we get a little snatch of summer back over the weekend. This year's Friday start meant I woke up on Saturday completely relieved to have to days off from school. I was in no hurry to go back there.

And it was like having summer back. I lay in bed until my door creaked open.

"Hi, Franklin," I said.

The clock said it was nine, but it was still very dark in my room. Having a first-floor bedroom with the porch outside means that sunshine never bothers me in the morning.

"Hi." Franklin came and sat on my bed. "What do you want to do today?"

I thought for a minute, and Franklin let me think. He would never interrupt when I am thinking.

"I want to figure out the best things we did in the summer, then do them all again."

"Okay. Here, I'll make a list." He got a yellow notepad and a pencil from my desk and sat down on my bed. "I really liked that day when we found frogs in that stream. We could do that again."

"Okay."

"Knights?"

"No Knights."

"Why not?"

"I'm not better from the last time we played Knights," I said, feeling the smooth sheets against my rough, scabby legs. And I wasn't better from getting made fun of. This was the weekend; I wanted to push school way out of my mind, to forget yesterday ever happened.

"What else then?"He tapped the pencil rubber on the paper.

"I liked helping Uncle Hugh finish the furniture." Uncle Hugh is a craftsman. He makes things out of wood, like rocking-chairs and tables and cabinets.

Franklin added that to the list.

"And I liked it when Aunt Bessie let us make ice-cream."

"Lactose free?" Franklin asked.

"Of course," I said. A glimmer of excitement lit Franklin's eyes. His mum limits his sugar at home, but we always have plenty for him at my house.Franklin can't have any real dairy products because of his allergies, but Aunt Bessie's pretty much a genius about getting around that. She really can make anything. She does catering out of our house, so we have special up-to-code kitchen with stainless steel counter-tops and lots of fancy appliances.

"I liked looking at the slides in my microscope." Franklin finished writing everything. "That's probably enough for today... what do you want to do first?"

"Let me see if we can do the stuff with Aunt Bessie and Uncle Hugh today at all." Aunt Bessie and I cook together on Saturdays if she doesn't have a catering job, but if she did she'd be busy all day.

I climbed out of bed and decided that the tank top I'd slept in would do for the day, too, so I found my shorts on the floor and pulled them on. I didn't mind about Franklin around, especially since he was always certain to fix his eyes on a point of the wall and stare straight ahead. Which is sort of silly, because  I know he still wears cartoon underwear. How can you be embarrassed around someone who knows about your cartoon underwear?

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