“Hey! Rich girl!”
I turned in the hall on my way to recess and looked at the kid. I’d learned that his name was Tommy Smithson. Some of the kids whispered that his parents were really poor because they drove a “junker.”
He came over to me. “Are those new shoes, rich girl? I bet your mom just buys you whatever you want.”
“What is your problem, Tommy?” He seemed surprised when I said his name. “These shoes are new, but that’s because I got them for my birthday.” They weren’t even that new; my birthday was months ago. “What is so bad about my moms being rich?”
He huffed. “Because rich people don’t have to work for anything! They take everything for granted and – and they’re stuck up snobs.”
Mom had said to be nice to this kid, but he wasn’t making it easy. “Says who?”
He frowned. “My parents…but they’re right!”
“No, they’re not.” I raised my chin. “My moms worked hard. And they didn’t used to be rich! Mom told me that her dad was a fry-cook. And Mama said that her dad was a mechanic.”
“Okay – but – “
“There’s nothing wrong with being rich!” I stamped my foot. “So you can go on being mean about it, but I’m not gonna stay here and listen. I’m gonna go play on the monkey bars. You can play, too, if you decide you wanna be nice.” I ran outside and hoped Tommy would just go away.
I’d been on the monkey bars for a few minutes when I saw Tommy come over.
“How was school today?” Mom asked as I went into the kitchen.
“It was okay.” I got a bowl and poured myself a bowl of cereal and hopped up onto a bar stool.
She smiled and sat down beside me. “Did you learn anything interesting?”
I shrugged. School was never interesting. “Not really. We had a test in math. I think I did okay on it.”
“Well, that’s good. Is that boy still bothering you?”
I shook my head. “Tommy is okay. We’ve been hanging out.”
“Really?” Mom smiled. “Since when?”
I chased a marshmallow around my bowl. “A couple weeks. Me and him and Luc play together at recess a lot.” Tommy actually wasn’t so bad.
Mom got up and went back to the sink, still smiling. “I told you that it would work out.”
I huffed softly. She loved to be right.
I smiled and dropped down on the couch next to Shirley. “Our little girl made a new friend.”
Shirley put her book down. “What makes you say that?”
“There was this boy who was picking on her, and now they’re playing together.”
Shirley leaned into my side. “Maybe he likes her,” she said teasingly.”
“As well he should. She’s going to be a heartbreaker when she grows up.” Huy and I may not have been compatible in the slightest, but apparently our genes were. Loralee was going to be a real looker when she got older.
“We’ll have to beat the men off with a stick.”
“Maybe she’ll be a lesbian.”
Shirley grinned. “So we’ll beat them off with a stick, too. She can date when she’s married.”
I laughed and rolled my eyes. “Okay, Dad.”
“And maybe Luc will just be uninterested in both. Maybe we should start home-schooling Loralee.”
I rolled my eyes again and started looking for a throw pillow to smother my wife with.