Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Evangeline (Part Five)

Evangeline’s troubles began when she started the second grade. Miss Baker, the second grade teacher, made labels for all the students’ little cubby holes (the place where they keep their jackets, lunch boxes, etc.) There were two girls in the class that had the initials E.G., Evangeline Goodman and Ellie Garrett. So Miss Baker decided to use the middle initials as well, which of course meant that E.G.G. was printed over Evangeline’s cubby.

Naturally, this became a source of ridicule from the bullies and the mean kids in the class. She was called Egg Head, Rotten Egg, Deviled Egg, and Egg Salad, to name a few. One child in particular loved to needle Evangeline. Her name was Margaret Allison Davis (initials M.A.D.- another parental oversight) but she went by the name “Prissy” as she was just exactly that – prissy. Prissy’s father was the president of the largest bank in Harris County and they lived in a fine house with about 400 acres of prime real estate.

Prissy was accustomed to being the center of attention and the prettiest and most popular girl in Sommerville Elementary. But by the time the second grade started, Evangeline and her miraculous voice began to steal Prissy’s thunder. The newspapers had printed several stories about Evangeline, and the t.v. station out of Portsmith taped a human interest piece complete with video of the crowds gathering outside the Tabernacle Church on Sunday morning.

Yes, Evangeline was a thorn in the side of Prissy Montgomery.

But Evangeline was oblivious to Prissy’s simmering hatred. Not because it was subtle, mind you, but because Evangeline had a loving, innocent way about her. She seemed to always see the good (no matter how miniscule) in a person. Prissy did everything in her power to torment and bully Evangeline – but nothing seemed to provoke her.

It was about this same time that my granddaughter Megan and Evangeline became fast friends. Megan was born with a hole in her heart, and at the tender age of 3 months, she had open heart surgery. The scar ran the length of her torso, and Megan did everything she could to keep it covered up, including wearing turtle neck shirts in the summer.

Megan was a library helper at the school. (She’s a bookworm, just like me.) One Friday, Miss Mollie Jo, the school librarian, told Megan that there was going to be a Book Fair and Open House on Monday, and that she should wear a white buttoned-down shirt and black skirt to school. Miss Mollie Jo wanted her helpers to serve the punch and cake to the visitors.

So, when Monday morning came around, Megan showed up in her white buttoned-down shirt and black skirt. Her buttoned-down shirt was buttoned down all right, from the top button to the bottom button, so that she could keep her secret hidden.

When it was time for the second-graders to come to the Book Fair, Evangeline made a bee line for Megan. “Megan,” she whispered, “Can you come and look at the books with me?” Megan looked up at Miss Mollie Jo who nodded approval.

The books were in stacks on tables. Stacks and stacks of books. Books on history, science, art, music, and literature. Books on crafts – beadwork, cross stitch, calligraphy, and candle making. Fantasy books on fairies, elves and magic forests. Books on birds, flowers, and butterflies. The girls were in book heaven. The smell of new books was all around them and they were lost in their book joy bubble when suddenly Prissy Montgomery tapped Megan on the shoulder.

I think you should know that everyone thinks you look like a geek with you shirt buttoned all the way to the top button,” Prissy said with a smirk.

Evangeline could see Megan’s jaw tighten and her eyes begin to fill with tears. “Well…I….get cold sometimes,” Megan whispered. Her face was now a deepening scarlet.

Prissy reached over and quickly unbuttoned the top button of Megan’s shirt and before Megan’s hand had time to reach up and cover the opening, Prissy discovered Megan’s secret.

Ewwww, gross. What happened to you?” she said as she reached up in an attempt to pry Megan’s hand away from the spot below her neck where the scar began. “I want to see it freak, show it to me!” Prissy whispered through clenched teeth as she began to push Megan between the tall rows of bookshelves.

Suddenly Evangeline was between Megan and Prissy. She wrapped her hand around Prissy’s wrist holding it firmly. “Leave her alone Prissy,” Evangeline whispered. “Get out of my way Egg Head,” Prissy hissed back. “I will not,” Evangeline replied.

Then Prissy slapped Evangeline on the face. The sound was like a crack of thunder in the quiet murmurings of the library. Evangeline slowly turned her face to look Prissy in the eye and calmly turned her head to offer her other cheek. Prissy accepted the offer and right about the time her hand was at its highest point before soaring down to smack Evangeline on the cheek, Miss Mollie Jo grabbed it.

Prissy! What on earth do you think you’re doing?” she scolded. “Come with me right now to the Principal’s office.”

Prissy turned to look back at Evangeline, intending to send her a message that “this is not over,” but Evangeline’s crystal blue eyes had turned a dark, deep blue and there was something there that told Prissy that this was indeed, over.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Deep. I think you might need longer paragraphs....smiles.