Sometimes we have to say we’re sorry, even when the person we wronged can’t hear us. It’s when we become obsessed about apologizing that those around us should worry. I hope you enjoy Part 2 of Sorry Forever. Thanks.
SUSAN HAD BEEN CALLING the parents of David’s classmates. For over an hour she had called as many parents as she knew. She had asked how their children were coping with Mrs. Dillard’s death. Most parents said their children were upset. Susan would go on and ask to what degree was their child upset. Almost all the parents said that their children were upset but coping well. Some parents said the realization that Mrs. Dillard would never come back to school had not yet set in with their children. Maybe when it did they would probably be more upset.
What Susan heard from the other parents made her concerned about David. The death of Mrs. Dillard was hitting him hard. Some of it was to be expected. Mrs. Dillard was his homeroom teacher. But, he only saw her in the morning. He did not see her all day. Unlike when he was in the second grade when Mrs. Daillard was his teacher all day. In the third grade, David left homeroom and went to classes with different teachers.
Susan’s mind wandered into a dark place about David and Mrs. Dillard’s relationship. Had she missed something? Was there more to their student and teacher relationship? Her thoughts were confusing and upsetting her.
Susan yanked her mind back and exhaled. She was being silly. Nothing inappropriate had happened between them. Way to think the worst of the dead, she told herself. She felt guilty for thinking that way about David and Mrs. Dillard. David was a wonderful son, an ideal child. Mrs. Dillard was a lovely woman and a great teacher. The kids loved her.
There was a question that still troubled her. Why had David called Mrs. Dillard the night before? David said he wanted her help with his math homework. That did not make sense. He could have asked her or John, his father.
Clearly, David had a crush on her. He did not see her enough to have a full-blown crush on her. Did he? She questioned what a third-grader would consider a full-blown crush. Then, she had another thought. Unless…Susan paused…the crush had been ongoing and she and Mrs. Dillard did not notice it.
David had lied to her. He had not told the whole story. That was troubling. He had not lied to her before. Not about something that serious. Susan turned and saw David coming down the stairs.
“How are you, honey?” Susan asked. He said okay in a low tone. Susan hated to see him in such mental pain. “Do you want something to eat?” He shook his head. “Something to drink?” He shook his head. “Anything?” He shook his head. That was unusual for him. He always wanted something. “Is there anything I can get you?”
“I’d like to go see Mrs. Dillard today and say I’m sorry,” he said.
Susan took a quick pause to compose herself. That was an odd request for an eight-year-old. Did he not understand that death was permanent? Little kids did not go and say goodbye to a person lying in the morgue. Kids just did not do that. Dead bodies were supposed to scare little kids. The way he said it was too casual. Maybe it had not set in with him that she was never coming back. Or, was there more to his attitude? Was there something that she should be worried about with him?
“Honey, that’s not a good idea,” Susan said. “That’s not something kids do.”
“Why?” David asked.
“It’s just not,” she said. “This is a time for Mrs. Dillard’s family to say goodbye to her. This is also the time they’re getting her funeral arrangements together. There are lots of things that need to be done for Mrs. Dillard’s funeral. Things that have to be done quickly. Her fiancée’ will be helping her family…”
“You’re a liar!” David yelled. Susan was shocked. “She didn’t have a fiancée! You’re lying.” Susan’s mouth hung open. “You don’t want me to see her! Liar! Liar! Liar! I’m not listening!” He slapped his hands over his ears and stomped his feet. “Liar!”
Sometimes a better explanation may help someone understand the situation. Then again, it may not help at all.
See you tomorrow.
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