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“Alright, what has she done now?”
Ariel was inside the principal’s office with her patience ready to explode. How can a seven year old girl have the audacity to do anything this spectacular to have her own mother come in during the middle of the day and greet the principal with nothing but her apologies? It was simple; go to school, learn and go home. That’s it. Why must her daughter adlib her way through life…
“She super glued all the fire alarms shut,” Principal Feng cautiously answered.
Sitting outside, in the administration office, Kris swung her legs frivolously and suddenly snapped her head towards the principal’s office as she heard her mother’s bone chilling shriek. Oh yeah, she was in TROUBLE! Kris shrank her body in her seat and looked at the secretary for some support, but only received a sorrowful look of pity as she shook her head back and forth.
“I’m going to kill her, that’s what I’ll do,” Ariel nonchalantly said as she got up from her seat. “I’m going to go home and chop her up.”
“Maybe I shouldn’t be hearing such things from a mother, perhaps,” Mr. Feng shyly suggested.
“I am so sorry, Mr. Feng. This will never happen again, I swear. “
“Well, that’s not the only problem that we have to deal with Ms. Lin,” He frankly spoke. “I am afraid to tell you that if her actions continue to rise at these levels, there’s nothing the school can do to stop social services from intervening.”
“Social Services?” Ariel suddenly repeated.
Her body froze from those two words. How could things have been so blown up that social services were involved? She knew Kris wasn’t the perfect child, but no one could take her away from her mother.
“Mr. Feng, I promise you, this will never happen again.”
As she opened the office door, Ariel looked at her daughter and stared down those hauntingly innocent eyes. It wasn’t fair that she didn’t know any better. Her mother wasn’t there for her when she needed her because Ariel was always at work trying to make ends meet. If she took less shifts, that meant they didn’t eat for a week. If she took more shifts, that meant for Kris to behave more recklessly. It was tiresome for both of them to see what their heinous reality had led them. But they were all they had. Nobody else.
“C’mon hun,” Ariel quietly said with a small smile lurking in her face.
“Am I in trouble?” Kris anxiously awaited for an answer.
“No, you’re not in trouble,” Ariel answered calmly, looking in her daughter’s sweet smile.
Walking down the street hand in hand with Kris fumbling behind, Ariel thinks about the trouble that they both might have to endure if everything continues the way they are.
“Mommy, are you mad at me?” Kris bluntly asked out of the blue. “Because, I don’t want you to be mad at me.”
“Mommy isn’t mad at you,” she sighed, not looking at her daughter. “Just disappointed.”
As they reach their small and chilly apartment complex, Ariel jingled the keys out of her pocket and again, struggled with the lock. Finally opening the door, Kris rushes in for the blanket on the couch and nuzzles her head next to it. Her security blanket. Ariel didn’t know if Kris was a bit old for that but it didn’t matter; if Kris needed something to feel a bit safer, then what’s the harm?
“Ok, Kris wash up for dinner and get your homework ready,” Ariel called out as she prepared the day old spaghetti and meatball meal she had prepared the day before.
When Kris came back from her shower, Ariel had already prepared the table with all the plate settings and food.
“Spaghetti again?” Kris pouted.
“Don’t complain,” Ariel sternly remarked. “As long as you have something to eat, you should be grateful. Now hurry up and eat so your food doesn’t get cold.”
“Yes mommy,” Kris robotically answered. “
“So what did you do at school today?” Ariel asked as she took in a forkful of spaghetti. “I mean besides super gluing the fire alarms.”
“I learned a whole mess of junk,” Kris excitedly expressed as she made gestures with her hands. “We learned about rocks and gravel and boulders and sand and all sorts of mess. Did you know a whole mountain will someday just be a pile of sand!? SAND! That’s so weird, don’t you think so?”
“Yep, that’s amazing alright,” Ariel smiled at the sheer enthusiasm her daughter provided. “What else did you learn, hun?”
“Uh…we learned some fractions, some new spelling words and…OH! A new kid came today. His name is Robbie He. I think he’s really neat because his daddy works as a pilot,” Kris explained as she gulped down her glass of orange juice.
“Pilot? Really? Huh, I guess he must be one of the three new hires we have at the terminal,” Ariel thought out loud.
“OH! And I met someone today. He was a pilot too,” Kris excited said.
“You talked to a stranger?” Ariel asked with concern. “Kris, how many times do I have to tell you? You can’t just go up to strangers like that; it’s dangerous!”
“No it’s not like that, mommy,” Kris said with a bright smile. “He was nice. He said he might know you since you both work at the airport.”
“I don’t care how nice he was, you don’t talk to strangers,” Ariel scolded.
“It wasn’t like I was out in the open,” Kris rolled her eyes. “I was in the principal’s office when it happened. Besides, I could have taken him! I’m not stupid.”
“No one said you’re stupid,” Ariel calmly replied. “But you always have to be aware of dangers ok?”
“OK,” Kris replied.
“What did you guys talk about?” Ariel asked.
“We talked about you,” Kris said as she shoved a meatball in her mouth. “We talked about…”
“Why would you talk about me?” Ariel winced. “God, to think that you haven’t had anything else to talk about. What did you say?”
“No, nothing like that,” Kris shook her head lightly as she shoved more food down her throat. “I just asked him if he knew who you are, but I wasn’t able to because I had to go into the office before I said anything.”
“Well if he is who I think he is,” Ariel started to say. “Stop shoving food down your mouth, Kris. You might choke on something. Small bites. Geez…well, if he’s one of those new pilots that came into work, I am pretty darn sure I have no idea who he is.”
“Do you know a pilot named Joe?” Kris asked frankly. “Because that’s who I know. I even have a nickname for him: Mr. Joe.”
“Does Mr. Joe have a last name or is he like a brand or something?” Ariel quipped at her daughter.
“Uh…oh shoot, I didn’t ask,” Kris mentally scolded herself. “Next time I’ll–
“Next time?” Ariel interrupted. “You better think twice about what you’re going to say, dear.”
“No ‘next time’?” Kris pouted at her mother, hoping for some pity.
“No,” Ariel said straight-faced. “I better talk with the principal for more security in school grounds. Now hurry and get ready for bed. You’ve got spaghetti sauce all over you.”
“BLAH!” Kris said, making a face. “I don’t wanna.”
“Fine, then you can sleep with all that sauce covering your face. And when it gets really late at night, I won’t stop the mice, bugs, ants and cockroaches from eating away at your-
“I’ll be good,” Kris winced as she pushed the dinner plate away from her and quietly scurried over to the bathroom.
When she was done, Kris got out of the shower and put on her pink fluffy robe, that her mom got her for Christmas, and tied the string tight around her body. She opened the door and made her way to her mother’s room which was had the door shut. It was 9:00pm; way passed her bedtime. Quietly tiptoeing her feet to her mother’s room, Kris wanted to sleep with her mother tonight because she was too afraid of her mother’s story even though she had washed up from head to toe. As she got close enough to reach the knob, Kris twisted the round object and watched her mother reading quietly in her bed. Kris never knew what was so great about reading, but her mother loved it. Freaky, she thought. Making her way silently into the bed, Kris walks up to the end of the bed and pulls the covers over her head and jumps on the bed.
“hehehe,” she laughed as she snuck her way to her mother.
Still cloaked under the blanket, Kris decides to scare her mother in 3…2…
“BOOO!” yelped Kris excitedly.
“Go back to bed, slick,” Ariel said deadpanned as she resumed reading.
“Aw, you’re no fun mommy,” Kris pouted as she settled herself comfortably in the large full sized bed.
“You want to sleep here?” Ariel asked with a small faint smile.
Forcing the blanket to cover her small frame, Kris made herself a small refuge of warmth. But something was missing. It wasn’t as warm as she would have hoped for. Springing out of the covers, Kris gave a large sigh and looked at her mother with a big frown plastered on her face.
“What?” Ariel asked.
Suddenly a smile ruptured on this little girl and she rushed over to her mother’s lap and gave her a big hug.
“Let’s spoon!” Kris excitedly said as she nuzzled her head into her mother’s belly. “I’m in the mood.”
“Where did you learn that?” Ariel said, raising a brow.
“Comedy central for kids,” Kris sleepily replied.
“There is such thing?”Ariel asked.
“Well, there better be,” Kris quietly replied. “G’night mommy. Lub joo!“
“Night, Kris,” Ariel said before planting a kiss on Kris’ forehead. “Try to be good tomorrow Ok? You don’t want to disappoint me tomorrow right?”
No reply. Just the soft snores escaping the little girl could be heard. Ariel put down her book and shut the lamp light before holding onto Kris as they both slept. She looked at Kris’ innocent round face once more before she closed her eyes and thought, how could this little girl make so much trouble? She knew Kris was good and had good intentions. She just needed some guidance.
“I won’t let you go, Kris,” she quietly whispered to her sleeping daughter. “I’ll never leave you.”
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