#16 I, Isabel Scheherazade Describe the Meaning of The Preliminary Hearing (or rather I DON’T describe it, because Mimi and Pop aren’t talking about it), and we get ready for, sigh, school. Which I USED to love.
Silence speaks when words can’t. A few months ago Mom and I saw this spray-painted graffiti on a broken fence board. She hunkers down and tries to explain it to me. I pretend to understand. Now? I get it: Because Pop, Mimi, and I can’t seem to find the start-up words to talk about the hearing, silence speaks. I don’t know what a Preliminary Hearing IS. At the same time, I’m pretty sure Mimi and Pop DO know what it is, but NOT what it MEANS.
One of Dad’s favorite songs had the line I could fill a book about what I don’t know. We’re writing the book!
But, except for the one, big, silence-wrapped topic, this place is full of chatter and action. And it’s all about school.
Clyde and Sam, you’ve outgrown everything! Mimi says. So, when they come back from Kids’ Klothing, they’re loaded with bulging bags of little boy outfits.
Pop pulls out Dad’s backpack, the one he used when he ran to work and asks me if I want to use it. At first I think no way, but then I suddenly love the idea. Pop spruces it up with new lacings.
Isabel, do you want to go shopping? asks Mimi. I shake my head. I don’t want NEW. I’ll stick with the OLD–the familiar, comfortable clothes Mom and I bought a week before she got killed.
Okay, everyone. Pop clears his throat. He sounds just like DAD did right before he made announcements, or gave out new rules, or handed down minor scoldings. Pop taps the side of his coffee mug with a sugar spoon. Mimi. Isabel. Clyde. Sam. Come sit. I’ve got things to say.
Familiar and comfortable aren’t words to describe what I’m about to hear. I’m sure of it.
Whassup, Pop? Whassup, Pop? The twins like to mimic one of their favorite Saturday morning cartoon characters. Bugs Bunny, I think it is. Or, maybe Roadrunner?
We slide into the breakfast nook. Clyde and Sam sit on either side of Pop. I sit across from them with Mimi.
I’ve got a list here. Pop has his new and revised notebook open to a non-recipe page. Yup. Your Mimi and I have made a school list. Ready? He looks at us and gives a big inhale-exhale. Okay then. Here goes.
The twins yell, School! Yay! School! Yay! They toot imaginary train whistles and jump up and down like popping corn.
Pop looks at me. I guess he can figure out why I’m not so excited. It’s scary, once you know what school’s about. New kid. New school. Fourth Grade. These little guys? What do they know?
Pop reads the list.
- Get more socks and underwear. (The twins giggle.)
- Make a chore chart.
- Read aloud.
- Don’t hurry through supper.
- Rethink the television.
Grrrrr. Lists AND silence. More later.