Chapter 2

Written by: Hemali Ajmera

“Sorry to hear that Mrs. Irving………. errrr Amy,” I uttered sincerely, a dull nostalgic pain tugging at my heart.

“Oh don’t be! Donny and I spent the happiest 15 years of our life together, five dating and 10 married. When I feel down, I look back at the wonderful times we spent together and feel grateful for those priceless memories,” Amy said smiling.

But I noticed a thin film of moisture glaze her eyes.

“Great outlook, but at times loneliness becomes a stubborn demon to beat,” I remarked.

“True, but moving on is important; in fact necessary.” 

“Yes, especially when you have to raise twins,” I quipped.

“Your girls are so spirited and lively! You are doing a swell job with them, despite the circumstances,” Amy gushed, covering my hand with hers.

I squirmed. This was getting a bit too personal. It felt awkward, out of my comfort zone. 

“Ummmm, so how do you think Nestor and Esther are doing?” I asked clumsily, trying to disengage myself from the unsettling tactile exchange. It was so much easier to deal with the predicaments of daily living than confronting buried emotions. 

“Well, to be honest, Nestor is struggling with reading, and Esther has issues with writing and spelling. They both need special attention in these areas if they are to keep up with the rest of the class,” Amy said pointing at the grade column in an Excel speadsheet on her laptop. 

 “But they have always managed good grades in English until now,” I said defensively like any conscientious parent would.  

“But it gets harder as they move up. This is the age when the struggles usually show up. Don’t be anxious, we have the rest of the year to get the girls up to a decent level,” Amy said encouragingly. 

“So I will need to work harder with them,” I surmised.

“No, improving reading and writing skills requires special techniques and methods. You are not equipped with the right tools; it needs training and experience,” Amy stated matter-of-factly.

I was offended. Thanks to this woman, my latent fear of inadequacy in dealing with the troubles of my offspring was becoming a reality. 

“I have worked out a schedule. If you agree, we can have after-school sessions at your house three times a week. Minimum six months to begin with,” Amy continued, undeterred.

The nerve of this woman!! She felt entitled to take charge of our lives without due deliberations.

Just then the girls walked back in. I was sulking and they could tell. But their teacher’s effusive greeting and subsequent pronouncement regarding after-school coaching made them forget my plight.

“So you will be teaching us? Yippeeeee!!” they squealed in unison.

I cringed.  

“Dad makes the best lemonade and butter cookies. We can have them after lessons.” 

The girls gave me a tight hug.  

“Would love that! I so look forward to that treat,” Amy beamed.

Clearly, for the first time my girls and I were not on the same page. 

 

 

Comments

I often counsel writers to avoid long pieces of dialogue. However, this chapter flowed despite all the dialogue because you kept each exchange within two lines...making it crisp and giving the piece pace. You broke it up with short descriptive narrative so we could see the action and reaction. Very good indeed.
You got perfectly inside this story Hemali. Similar tone and attitude to the previous chapters. Lovely.
Thank you Suraya and Ken! I thoroughly enjoyed writing this one.