The next day May came to school with a grim look, and Russell came with his writing.
“May? You look thunderous,” said Henry.
“Hen, you’ve been reading the dictionary,” I said.
“My very, very, very dumb mother is going to adopt a very, very dumb baby,” said May.
“Too many verys,”, said Hen.
“There can never be too many verys about this,” said May.
“Your mother is not dumb. She’s smart,” I said.
“Until now she was smart,” said May.
“There’s one thing,” I said.
“What?” grumped May.
“You have something to write about,” I said. “And I sure wouldn’t mind having a brother or sister.”
“Get a cat,” said May.
She glared at me and stomped to her seat.
Ms. Mirabel watched her. Ms. Mirabel wore purple today. Everything was purple: her skirt, her top, her shoes, her headband that failed at holding back that hair.
“Is there trouble?” she asked.
“A new baby at May’s house,” said Hen. “Her parents are adopting.”
“Ah,” said Ms. Mirabel.
I thought about Evie’s father saying “ah”.
“Does May have any brothers and sisters?”
“Four sisters. May is the youngest one.”
Ms. Mirabel smiled.
“I remember loathing my baby brother.”
“Like outliners,” said Hen.
“Like outliners,” she repeated.
“You probably love him now. Right?” I said to her.
She looked at me as if surprised at the question.
“Your brother,” I repeated.
Ms. Mirabel sighed. “No, Lucy. He’s not a very nice person, as it turns out.”
Ms. Mirabel shook her heads as if chasing aways thoughts. She looked at the class, everyone sitting quietly now.
“Let’s read!” she said. “Russell? did someone whisper to you?”
Russell got up and stood at his desk. The paper shook a bit in his hand.
“And who whispered to you?”
“My dog,” said Russell. “Just before he died.”
I’ll fly away
Above the big maple tree
Where I peed every day.
I’ll fly away
Above the garden
Where I dug up carrots
Where I rolled in something
I liked running with you
And chasing balls
And sleeping under your quilt.
I’ll fly away.