#17. 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 got spray-painted on a broken fence picket near my old school. The principal called an all-school meeting to talk about what it meant. Not too productive. But I get what it means now: Because Pop, Mimi, and I can’t seem to find the start-up words to talk about the hearing, silence speaks instead.
I don’t know what a Preliminary Hearing is. I don’t have enough background knowledge to make sense of the newspaper story. One of Dad’s favorite songs had the line I could fill a book about what I don’t know. I could write that book!
That said, it’s unbelievable crazy that except for this one, big, silence-wrapped topic—this elephant in the room—our house is full of chatter and action. And it’s all about school.
Clyde and Sam, you’ve outgrown everything! Mimi says. When they come back from Kids’ Klothing, they’re loaded with bulging bags of little boy outfits.
Pop pulls Dad’s backpack out of his closet. It’s his high school teacher pack. Want to use it?
At first I think no way, but then I flipflip to loving the idea. It has high corners so I can pack all of my textbooks and notebooks back and forth each day. No dog-ears. If I ever get an iPhone it even has a special pocket and USB port for an external charger. The back is padded; so, very comfy. Hmmm. I think it has a built in headphone jack too. And it’s Dad’s.
Mimi finds some neon laces to spruce it up a bit. Isabel, do you want to go clothes shopping? She asks while she laces the pack.
I shake my head. No Thanks. I don’t want NEW.
Okay, everyone. Pop clears his throat. Family meeting!! 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.
I’m shocked when I have this rebellious thought: You’re not the boss of me, Pop.
Wassup, Pop? Wassup, 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 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. 7th 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. First silence; now lists.
Trifecta. I think I’ve put tiny story bits from the Front-Seat, Way-Back-Seat, and Middle-Seat of the van I used as a metaphor for where my stories come from. Front-seat=the school stuff. Way-back seat=Mom and Dad stuff. (I love how I can remember their actual talk and music. I can even smell Dad’s guitar case sitting open while he sang that “I could fill a book with what I don’t know” song.) Of course, the preliminary hearing which I don’t know anything about is from the awful Middle-Seat row.