A little girl wakes up worried that Miss will scold her for not doing her homework.
“I’ve enough of your tantrums, Tom!”
“What do you think you are, some queen?”
“I maybe not, but I’m better off than a junkie like you. Why, even my little Sarah has more sense than you!”
Seven year old Sarah tried hard to focus on her homework, but couldn’t. The sounds from the living room just wouldn’t give her any respite. She felt scared and lonely listening to the row between her mother and Tom.
I’m a brave girl, and brave girls don’t cry, Sarah convinced herself. However, big teardrops formed in the corner of her eyes and began to trickle down her cheek. She placed her arms on the desk, buried her head in them and began to sob. She didn’t even realize when she fell asleep.
At the break of dawn, Sarah woke up with a start. She groaned thinking about the previous night. Miss. Brown will holler at me again for not doing my homework, the little girl worried. Mom did not wake me up. She must still be asleep. Who will get me ready for school?
Sarah looked at her desk, but the arithmetic exercise book over which she had fallen asleep was not there. Also, missing was her pencil box. Oh, no! I lost my pencil box again. Mom will be so angry. She glanced around the room with concern, but the sight of her school bag and her neatly ironed uniform on the bed bewildered her.
She opened her school bag and found the pencil box inside. Funny! I thought I had left it on the table. This uniform was hanging in the attic where I couldn’t reach it. Someone took it down, ironed it and placed it here.
Mom must be awake! the little girl shouted with glee and ran out of her room. She stopped in her tracks because her mother, Michelle was snoring on the couch. On the dining table, Sarah saw her pack of favorite chocolate cereals and a jug of milk. Mom is fast asleep. Who is getting me ready for school? Did Mom didn’t place the cereals before sleeping. she wondered, brushing aside the blonde curls from over her eyes.
It can’t be, Tom for sure, she shook her head, thinking about her mother’s latest boyfriend. He is always so angry with me! Sarah noticed the watch and scurried back to her room. She would easily make it to the school bus, but didn’t know what to tell her Miss about the unfinished homework.
How will I brush my teeth? she thought, opening the bathroom door. Her toothbrush and paste were on the shelf and she wouldn’t be able to reach. Oh, My God! She exclaimed when she saw her things placed on the small tool where her mother always left them every morning.
Quickly, Sarah readied herself for school. I don’t know what to tell Miss about the homework, she kept thinking. She brushed, bathed, dressed, ate breakfast, slung the school bag on her back, and started for the door.
She turned. "Yes, Mom.”
Michelle looked stunned. “You’re leaving for school!”
“You’ve become a big girl. Come, give momma a hug.”
Sarah rushed into her mother’s outstretched arms feeling much better.
“But, Sarah, who ironed your dress? And did you eat your breakfast?”
The little girl blabbered out her remarkable experiences of the morning, where everything seemed to be in its right place where they should actually not have been.
“Wait a minute. Are you saying that someone ironed your uniform, packed your bag, placed your toothbrush on the tool and made your breakfast?”
Michelle stood up with a start. “Who can it be ?” she wondered with her hands on her hips.
Both mother and daughter turned to a voice which had suddenly appeared in the room.
“Yes, Michelle. Now Sarah, before you miss your bus, you should be running. Here take this note. I have written a note to Miss. Brown apologizing for your homework. I’ll help you with it this evening.”
Tom knelt in front of Sarah who took the closed envelope from his hand. Tentatively, she flung her arms around his shoulder and was overjoyed when he hugged her back.
“Michelle, you have fifteen minutes to get ready before breakfast is served,” Tom announced once Sarah had left.
Tom started to walk toward the kitchen when he felt her fingers on his shoulder. He turned. “What?”
“I can’t understand this, Tom,” she choked.
“Ok. I guess I owe you an explanation. After I went back home, I realized that I had left behind my room keys. I returned. You were asleep on the couch, drunk. I heard sobs from Sarah’s room. She was asleep at her desk, but was sniveling in her sleep. That scene did something to me, Michelle. She deserves better. She is an angel.” Tears welled up in his eyes.
“Thank you, Tom.”
“No, Michelle. I should thank you. You’re the family I never had. I promise to behave. Just be a little patient with me.”