Makyla surveyed the school bus seat choices and resigned herself. Age seven, she pouted, “You didn’t save me a seat, Layla, like you promised.”
“Sorry. Today, Tami had sweets. We’ll sit together after school.” Layla’s brown eyes tilted up and she gave an emphatic nod, before her dark head bowed over a game.
“I saved you this seat, Mac,” said Ethan as he leaned and patted the cushion. She looked to make sure he hadn’t placed anything squishy, like a jelly donut, in her place.
“My name’s Makyla, not Mac.” She flounced into her seat as the bus lurched toward the school. She sighed. I hate being the last pick-up. “Hey, not my hat again, Ethan. Give it back.” She reached up to smooth down her flyaway curls. “You look dumb, you know that, don’t you?”
Ethan had her red hat pulled down so that it covered his ears. He grinned and his face flushed as he shook his head. Then he dangled the hat in front of her before flinging it backwards. There was a clamor as boys tussled. The bus driver shouted half-heartedly to sit down and behave. Makyla glared at Ethan, then faced forward, ignoring the frenzy behind her.
At school, she and Layla walked to class. “Wait up. Here’s your stupid hat.” Ethan tapped her on the shoulder, stuffed it in her hand, and ran down the hallway.
Morning recess. Dodgeball. “Ethan Merritt, chunk the ball at someone else,” Makyla hissed in his ear as they changed sides of the gym.
Mrs. Monroe had everyone form a circle for reading time. There was a scramble for spots. Dismayed, Makyla found herself between Ethan and Nick. She squirmed as Ethan surreptitiously pinched her leg.
“Young lady, do you need time out?” the teacher asked.
“Well, then, sit still.” Makyla scrunched her face at Ethan, looking so engrossed in the story.
Lunchtime arrived and Makyla, seated with Layla and her friends, blocked the straw cover that Ethan blew her way.
After lunch, she ran to the swings and flew high until Ethan pushed her off. Makyla limped to the nurse for clean up. She heard the nurse call her mother, “She’ll be fine. Ethan is a charming freckle-faced hellion seeking attention.”
Makyla returned to find the class creating Valentine’s. “Here’s a black crayon for you,” cackled Ethan. She found a red and drew a heart for her mother.
Class ended, the bus ride home mercifully quiet. First stop, Makyla exited, then turned as she heard her name. “Hey Mac…for you.” A huge red heart sailed out the window and then shredded under the bus tires.