I’m a Good Girl

I’m home. My school books are on my desk.  I’ve got my grape Kool Aid and, oh, there are cookies cooling. Mama knows I like chocolate best.

Is it hot enough? The thermostat says 78 degrees. Darn, only 78?

It’s gotta be hotter than that. I got all sweaty just running from the school bus to the house. Maybe I can fake it. After all, Mama’s not home. Maybe I can tell her it said 80 when I checked.

Or maybe not. I sigh. Maybe tomorrow it’ll be shorts. I really want to wear shorts. I remember, sort of, from last summer, how cool they were, how free I felt.

But not until the thermostat says 80 degrees. ‘Cause that’s what Mama said: 80 degrees, not 78. ‘Cause later on when it’s summer, she said, it’s going to be much hotter. Maybe a hundred degrees.  You don’t want to wear shorts now when it’s not as hot as it’s going to be, and then be even hotter later. I know last summer seems a long time ago when you’re 8, she said, but if this Georgia summer is anything like summers in Florida it’s going to be so hot the top layer of tar in the parking lot will stick to the bottom of your shoes. It’s going to be really hot.

Mama’s voice is inside me. She’s almost always right, but this time she’s also kinda wrong. Last summer doesn’t just seem like a long time ago. It really was a long time ago. Before third grade even began.

I go to change out of my school dress and slip and Mary Janes into t-shirt and dungarees and sandals. I grab my second cookie and head out the door.

Tramping across the parking lot, I wonder if the tar will melt and stick to the bottom of my sandals now. If so, maybe Mama will change her mind about the exact temperature I can wear shorts at. I pound around a while in the parking area, cookie in hand, chomp then clomp tromp stomp. Phooey, chocolate is melting all over my hand but there’s no black stuck to my shoes. Oh well, shorts will just have to wait.