Laura; Adjusting An Attitude

As I was walking home from school, I was dreading the eventual confrontation with Mom. I had got frustrated today, math class was not going well for me. The teacher was making an example out of me, I was hurt and embarrassed, causing me to react in an unusual way. The guys behind me in class were making fun of me, calling me names but not loud enough for the teacher to hear them. Then the teacher called me up front to do a problem on the blackboard, I stared at the blackboard, not having a clue as to how to start the problem. I had been so concerned about the guys hassling me that I did not pay attention to the teacher.

I was red in the face, shaking like a leaf and angry at everything and everybody. Ms. Hamilton called me by name telling me to go sit back down since I apparently hadn’t a clue as to what I was doing in class. Everybody started laughing and I picked up a couple of books on her desk and threw them at the guys that were hassling me. Luckily they didn’t hit anyone, my skill in anything athletic was nil. Even the simple act of throwing a book at someone was beyond my ability. The teacher grabbed the collar of my shirt and I was dragged to the principal’s office. She returned to her class, and I had to wait until that class is over before she returned to talk to the principal. That was undoubtedly the longest thirty minutes in recorded history. After the teacher left, I still had to wait until I was summoned into her office.

Unbeknownst to me they had cameras in the classroom, the footage of my outburst was examined before I was called in. Finally Ms. Bennett opened her door and invited me in. I walked slowly in and found a seat in front of her desk. I would have preferred the love seat against the wall but doubted that would sit well with her, the farther away from her the better. She asked me to tell her what happened in my own words, everything I could remember. I gave her a quizzical look, but started in.

Fifteen minutes later I was finished, probably in more ways that I cared to think about. Ms. Hamilton, my math teacher, is a no nonsense teacher and is feared by most students, probably because she has taken more than her share of students to the Principal’s office for discipline. Most of been severally disciplined, even a few expelled. I was afraid that was going to be my fate today.

She gave me a smile, telling me that she has reviewed the film of my actions today, understanding some of my need to act out. “However, what you did is a poor choice to handle your frustration. I have called your Mom and told her what happened and I am sending a note home with your sister explaining your punishment for this incident. I am also suggesting you need something to release some of your frustration before you come back to school. I will talk to your Mother after a week to see if both of us think you have changed your attitude enough to return to school.”

“I am not expelling you, or suspending you, just a week for you to think about things and possibly change your attitude. I will make sure your fellow students in that class that contributed to your actions are seen to, maybe extra homework for several days will take a little of their ardor away from them. Now return to the outer office and wait until the final bell rings, then you can go home. I will have your sister bring all of your homework assignments with her, I know you won’t want to miss any of your assignments while you are at home.” That last statement delivered with quite a smirk.

I slowly walked back out to the waiting area found a seat and slouched down in the chair. My sister did come by later, gave me a wicked smile and went in to get the note for Mother, then left to attend her final class for the day. When the final bell rang I went to my locker to get my books, then slowly left the school grounds. Tonight in particular I was in no hurry to get home. I saw my sister up ahead, she was walking very slow, I guess waiting for me to catch up. I am sure she wanted to tease me some, get her digs in before Mother got a hold of me. I finally walked up to the side of her, she turned towards me and hugged me. I stopped and stared at her, this is a side of Sis I have never seen. In a voice louder that I intended I asked her what she had did with my sister, are you an alien or some other life form.

She giggled, no I know you are going to get the full brunt of Mother’s actions, just letting you know I care for you. I will deny this statement and actions if asked about it later. A sister succumbing to caring for a brother just doesn’t happen in real life. We walked together the rest of the way, Sis mentioning some comments towards her, from the same group of my friends that caused me trouble today. At the time she had some of her girlfriends with her, so it was just a few words from the boys then they walked away. I got another hug before we entered the house, but I scampered off to my room right away, hoping for a few moments of quiet before all hell breaks loose.

Time seemed to stop, I kept looking at the clock on my computer to see what time it was. Then I heard Mom calling me from the front room. I ran my fingers through my hair then headed to my imminent demise. Mom was alright but had no patience for crap from me or my sister. Sis had learned her lesson better than me, her actions always within the guidelines we were given by Mom. I walked into the front room, waiting for her to tell me where to sit, if she was allowing sitting that is. I was hoping she might let me explain some, but after some consideration that is apparently not going to happen.

“You will do your homework first thing every morning, then present it to me to see if you have completed it correctly. Then you will straighten your room including making your bed and do your laundry if there is enough for a load. Fix yourself some lunch and clean up afterward, then you will walk to my studio, where you will attend one of my classes. This is an everyday occurrence for you, no exceptions, no sass, no getting around it.”

“Maybe if you have to participate in one of my classes everyday, you might loose some of that attitude you have developed. It will certainly not do you any harm. After a week we will see if there is any change. Then at that time make any more changes that are necessary. I know this is not what you want to do, but failure to participate and I will look into a boarding school for you, maybe even a military school. So keep that in mind as you decide whether to join in or not.”

I deflated even more, when Dad was alive that is what he wanted for me, a military school, similar to what he attended as a young adult. I had heard enough from some of his tales, to do anything I could to avoid this option. So far that had been avoided, but now it was back in the discussion. Dad had died in a plane crash a couple of years ago. I missed him some, but we never did connect on any level, Sis and him were closer for some reason.

I was sent back to my room. Dinner, I was told, would be brought to me later. I laid in bed staring at the ceiling, trying to figure how I was going to cope with all of this. The part I was concerned about the most was attending her class. Mom taught ballet, having five classes a day, each class a different age group. Before she married Dad she was a ballerina with one of the major touring companies, their marriage eventually ending her professional career. She did teach ballet right from the start, making more than enough money to support her family and eventually make up for Dad’s loss of income. I tried to think which age group was right after lunch, hoping I would not be put in with the younger kids.

Sis brought me my dinner, setting it on my desk and then sat next to me on the bed. She laid a stack of clothes next to me, smiling a little knowing what I would be doing with them tomorrow. She told me Mom was not that mad at me, the principal told her about the guys and their teasing of me, but my way of handling the situation was all wrong. In Mom’s opinion I needed some discipline, knowing when to act and when to keep quiet, by letting things go by.

Mom has always thought learning ballet would give anyone that discipline, now I will be experiencing that discipline first hand. Sis gave me some advice on how to stay on Mom’s good side, then hugged me and wished me luck. A while later I carried my dirty dishes to the kitchen, washed them then dried them and put them away. As I turned to head back to my bedroom I saw Mom standing in the doorway watching me closely. I tried to get past her, figuring the least said the better. I was grabbed and hugged, then escorted to my bedroom.

As I entered I noticed the stack of clothes had been replaced, this stack not possible to ignore since they were all a bright pink. I groaned but Mom made me look at her, holding my face so that I had to look at her. “Let’s change the class that you will be attending, since you have limited ballet experience I think starting out as a beginner might be better. You can be my assistant in the class, I will show you the move and then you will do it. As the young girls try to do it you can go around and show them the proper way to perform the move. So show up at eight AM I will run through all the moves for the first class, so that you have some experience before the class. The class is at ten and is an hour long. That will get you back home to perform your chores and homework by lunch time. Your sister will help with your hair and makeup in the morning. I do need you to take a shower tonight and use the hair removal cream on the shelf in the shower.”

I made a face, not liking any of what she told me. She smiled. “Well if this doesn’t work out I am sure you will be popular at the military school dressed as a female and wearing makeup all the time. Your choice.”

I promptly headed for the bathroom, that was all the convincing I needed to cooperate.

Story Incomplete At Present

© 2016 thru 2021 Fran Cesca Walker

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