Graded in Red| Chapter 4

Chapter 4

I woke up the next morning with a killer headache. After Bridget’s dramatic exit, Victoria and I had a few more beers and talked about the upcoming school year. I had a lot more planning to do then I had thought otherwise. I hadn’t realized that the standards had changed three times in just the past 5 years. I knew that I would up late most nights for the rest of the summer getting up to date with what was going to be expected of me. 

I had about three weeks until the school year started, which sounded like a long time, but creating lessons, setting up my classroom, and getting to know my new team members would take up a lot of my time. 

However the day could not and would not start without a giant cup of coffee. I was what my friends and family called a coffee snob. I actually didn’t know that much about coffee, I just knew what I liked. If I had time in the morning I would freshly grind a Breakfast Blend coffee, boil water, and use my French press. However, most mornings I would just throw in a Breakfast Blend K-Cup into my Keurig Coffee maker and call it a morning. No breakfast was complete without a toasted English Muffin with peanut butter on it. 

As my coffee was brewing and my English Muffin toasting in the toaster, I turned on Christmas music at the loudest capacity possible without waking up my parents. It was weird that I now had  to think about my neighbor’s sleeping habits now that they were my parents. 

I knew my dad was already up, he wasn’t necessarily a morning person like me, but he has spent the majority of his adult life getting up at the butt crack of dawn to get to work at the pipelining business that he was a partner in with his best friend and my god father, Greg. 

My mom however was an artistic soul. She didn’t have a 9-5 job like most people do. She would stay up until 3 or 4 in the morning working on her latest creation. She had her own Etsy store called Heather’s Creations, which she actually made decent money at, so much so that she hasn’t had to work a part time job in years. However, this meant that at 7:00 am in the morning she was most likely snoozing away in their bedroom. 

I decided that I didn’t want to spend the morning by myself listening to music. I took my coffee and my toast and headed up the basement stairs into the kitchen of my parent’s house. 

It hadn’t changed much since I lived here ten years ago. The basement stairs led into the kitchen. You could turn right and go into the garage or turn left right into the kitchen. It was a decent sized kitchen with glass front cabinets that I loved. They were etched with beautiful designs by my mother. 

I turned to the doorway of the kitchen into the dinning room and I saw my dad drinking his own coffee and reading the newspaper. 

“Morning kiddo! I wondered how long it would take you to get your butt up here and have a coffee with me.” My dad put down his newspaper and pulled out the chair right next to him. 

“Well, I didn’t want to intrude! What if you had changed your habits and you decided to read the newspaper in the NUDE!?” I dramatically whispered to him while smelling my coffee. It was an intoxicating smell. 

“Ha! Nope, same old same old here, kiddo. I pulled out the comic page for you to read. There is a pretty good Dennis the Menace in there today.” He gingerly tossed the comics my way. This was our routine from as long as I could remember. Even before I was reading and drinking coffee. Dad would read to me and I would sip on orange juice. 

“Thanks dad!” I read a few comments before staring off into the living room. Watching the sun pour into the three huge bay windows was relaxing in ways I couldn’t remember but I couldn’t help wondering if being back home solidified my complete failure as an adult. I must have sighed pretty heavily because my dad peered over his newspaper at me.  

“Alright kiddo, what’s wrong? Spill it.” My dad put his sports column down and looked over his glasses at me. I realized then that he did look older. His jet black hair was turning salt and pepper at the temples. His smile lines were etched into crows feet at the corners of his eyes, looking as though he was always on the verge of smiling. The years had been kind to my dad. He was sort of a Sean Connery meets Patrick Stewart kind of man. 

“I don’t know dad. I am happy to be home. I never thought I’d say that. I mean, I just never thought that I would be living at home again. But after everything that happened in the city. I really needed to come back to where I could recharge. I was just wondering, are you sure it’s okay that I’m back? I mean, you and mom have your own lives now. You go to bingo, have friends over, and have started something new. I just don’t want to impede on your life.”

I was basically word vomiting all of my worries on my dad. That is what he was always there for, helping me get through the difficult times in my life. It wasn’t that I couldn’t talk to my mom, I could. But she would always take my side. I was never in the wrong. Whereas my dad, he would call me out on my stuff if I needed it. He kept me level headed and humble. 

“Honey, you will always be our child. This doesn’t end just because you’re 28 and an adult. You will always be our baby girl and we will always be here. Your mother has always talked about having you closer to us. You will never be a burden or a bother. You are welcome for as long as you need.” My dad patted my hand, took a drink from his coffee and started reading the sports page again.

That was the end of the serious ‘life’ conversation with my dad. He was a man of few words, but I liked it better that way. You couldn’t skew his words or think they were anything other than what they were. He was blunt and straightforward, something that I also inherited from him. It wasn’t the best trait to have though, it sometimes got me in trouble. 

After having coffee with my Dad I headed back to my basement apartment to take a shower and get ready for the day. Victoria mentioned an opening at the high school that evening. Apparently all summer the district was redesigning and building onto the different  school sites in Broken Bow, the high school got a new library and a new field house. The Board of Education wanted to celebrate the two week early completion with a party at the high school. Everyone in the district was welcome, parents, students, and influential people of the town would be there. It was supposed to be a big deal and all of the teachers were ‘voluntold’ to be there.  

I wasn’t too upset about this though. I needed to get a look around my new classroom, take some measurements, and see what I needed to purchase to make sure that my classroom was welcoming to the students on the first day of school. No one likes walking into a drab classroom that looks like a prison cell

4 thoughts on “Graded in Red| Chapter 4

  1. Loved it! Love the characters and their personalities, hobbies, quirks, etc. It feels very realistic, her worries and all And blasting Christmas music in the beginning of the school year…I just did that last night LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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