Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Fight in the Front Porch Classroom: Manuela Blayne, Day Six in the Countdown

Will pushed out a sarcastic laugh. “So you girls are playing school? Didn’t you get enough school during the regular session to be sick of it?”
Buddy hopped onto the porch and rang our school bell. “Yeah. Men—like us—are working. We’re repairing the barn.”
Bailey looked up as she sighed in exasperation. “Playing carpenters.”
Manuela turned her face to the wall, took a stubby pencil, and began copying from a McGuffey Reader onto a tablet supported by a board.
“Manuela, how many days a month did you go to school anyway?” Will bent over her to look at her work.
She covered the tablet but took care not to lose her page in the reader. Gazing out into the yard, she considered his question. “Oh, I don’t know. About two or three.”
“ABC’s.” Buddy, standing by Will, leaned over her shoulder. “That’s baby stuff.”
“Hush, Buddy.” Bailey moved in front of her twin and pushed him. “It’s baby stuff to you, but you didn’t have to miss school because your grandmother got sick. You think you’re something because you know who your papa was. Manuela don’t know stuff but it ain’t her fault. She’s smart, ain’t she, Trudy?”
“Is that so?” Buddy pushed Bailey.
“And you had somebody older to walk to school with you. And when your school closed down, your papa took you in the automobile.”
Bailey pushed Buddy’s arm.
Buddy hit Bailey’s chest.
The twins locked up in a fight. Bailey, arms flailing and feet kicking, resisted as I pulled her away.

Will grabbed Buddy’s arms. “Leave the girls alone.”
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