The time has come for Arlette's day in father's court.
|Jan. 4th, 2013
Milton’s serious look did not change as the ear splitting yell exploded from his beautiful daughter’s mouth. She jumped up off her bed and seemed to be ready to run at a second’s notice. As she stood in the room, looking at her father, a couple of magazines fell on the floor. She ignored them and took a small step towards her father. Her face was pale. Inside, she was trembling a little.
Milton also took one small step towards his daughter. He was ready to be the understanding, yet firm parent he knew must prevail. As soon as he saw that she was beginning to calm down, he took a few more steps toward her. In his hand was the report that showed proof of his decision. He knew that inside, her heart must be breaking but Arlette knew that he would not back down.
“Arlette you must have known that this news was coming.” He spoke with as compassionate tone that he could offer.” His hand with the form gently extended closer to his daughter.
She took the paper and looked at the name on the paper and then the report itself.
“I….I…thought that all of my work was in.” she shook her head in disbelief. A small tear formed at the corner of her eye. “There must be some mistake!” She looked up at her father to see if his expression had changed.
“Arlette, I have never known you to do so poorly in your work.” He paused to let the statement sink in. “Your mother and I can accept only passing work. That means ‘C’s’ or better.”
Arlette looked at the paper thinking that looking at the ‘D’ might make it change or completely disappear. She shook her head and then sat back down on her bed. Outside she heard a car drive up the driveway.
“Dad, I handed in my report to the substitute for Mrs. Weston a day late. Mrs. Weston was ill for a few days.” Arlette looked at her father to see if he was following her story. He nodded for her to continue.
“Why didn’t you have it in on time?” he querried.
“My class went on a field trip that lasted a whole day.” She gave a big sigh. “I think I left it at home because I knew that I wouldn’t be going to her class. She was out the next few days and I guess couldn’t grade the paper for the grade.”
Mr. Vaughan could guess the rest. Since the computer that the teachers had to submit grades to did not have anything, it supplied a zero and averaged that zero with the rest of her grades. Poor Arlette was a victim of modern technology and a poor decision.
“When did you talk to her next?” he asked.
“I couldn’t since her illness turned into pneumonia and she went into the hospital for the next week.” Arlette looked like she was really ready to cry.
“I have a copy on my computer disk. I can show you now that I have it.” She stood up to walk to her computer.
Milton put out his hand to stop her. “Arlette, it doesn’t matter what you have on your computer now. The school’s computer has made the decision for you.”
Arlette stomped her foot. “But that’s not fair!” She picked up the disk and continued to start up her computer. “I’ll show you. Please believe me!”
“No Arlette.” He went to the bed and picked up her report. “What is not fair is that you want to be allowed privileges when you have not earned them.” He stopped to see if would accept this as his final decision.
It was the last straw for Arlette, she threw herself on her bed and began the loudest heaving and crying she could. Milton walked one step to Arlette and then stopped. He wanted to comfort her but knew that she would be buried in her soon to be wet pillow for the next fifteen minutes if not longer. Life was not fair, but then he was sure that other students handed in their papers before they went on the same field trip. That was the easiest way to avoid bad grades and unexpected illnesses.
As Arlette was crying, her visions of formals, flowers and a wonderful date changed to rags, used Kleenex and a cold bedroom. She was not the best history student but she always tried to do what was required.
Milton left Arlette’s room with a heavy heart. This was one of the more dreary jobs that a parent could face. He walked across the living room to see if he could talk to his wife who was in the kitchen. He heard the sound of dishes being placed on a table. As he walked to the kitchen, he heard the doorbell ring. Quick as a flash, Connor rushed out of the kitchen.
“Hi Dad!” He took a couple of quick steps toward the door. “I’ll get it.” He finished his sprint to the door. “I think it’s for me anyway.” He opened the door.
As the door opened, Roger stood there with a big smile on his face. Roger stepped through. He gave Connor the hand bumps that was their special ‘hello’ greeting.
“Hey Connor. Are you ready review in espanol?”He held up his Spanish books and stepped into the living room.
“Hola Roger.” Connor gave a little shake of his head to let Roger know that levity was not helpful at this time. “I didn’t expect you so soon. “
Roger changed his behavior from carefree to one of serious. He walked solemnly into the living room and stopped at the table that was in front of the couch. He put the material he had on the table and looked around for his favorite person, Arlette.
“Hello Mr.Vaughan. How are you today?”
“Well I’m fine but I can’t say that about everyone in the house.” Milton continued through the door.
“What’s that all about?” Roger looked at Connor as he smoothed back his hair.
“I think Arlette may have received some bad news.” When he said that he shrugged his shoulders and walked closer to Roger to share the news that Roger did not want to hear.