2. Grounded Forever
Dec 20, 2021 by Mr. Allen
Clymene and I were both grounded forever, or until we got married or left for college. We were on total lockdown. No internet, e-mail, phone calls, text messages, TV, anything. “If it runs on electricity or batteries,” said Mom, “you can’t use it.”
Next day, I had to go with Mom and Dad to see Principal Smootin. Cly said I should go in and just apologize till my eyeballs fell out. “They don’t want to hear your side of the story or what a rat Martin Blindenbok is,” she said. “They just want to hear that you are the sorriest person on the planet.”
Mom and Dad didn’t say anything to me on the drive over. They were going on about how Mom’s company was downsizing and, with her being preggers and all, she feared, even though she’s spent years with the (stupid text book) company, they’d figure out a way to downsize her while she was on maternity leave.
Hello, I’m getting expelled here.
They made us sit on a bench outside the principal’s office. I still wasn’t sure what I was going to say, which is why I was so nervous. Dad watched all the late kids marching through—and kids with doctor’s notes, and parents who were dropping off lunches for kids who forgot them-—and he started to smile. Mom gave him a look that killed off his smile like a truck running over baby ducks.
Principal Smootin made a big show of pulling out my file and scanning through it. He pointed out that I was not thoroughly engaged with my math studies (I suck at math) and that several teachers had noted that I trended to the excessively verbal (I talk too much in class).
He reminded Mom and Dad that Fairfield was a private institution with strict standards of behavior and that, unlike public schools, no student was required to attend Fairfield. I could see that Cly was right and that Principal Smootin wanted me to be the sorriest kid on the planet, and I decided that was okay, but making my parents grovel seemed really unnecessary. They didn’t punch Martin Blindenbok, after all.
Next day, Mom and Dad called me down before dinner and said they’d made a decision. They were sending me to be home schooled for the semester by my mom’s sister, Aunt Millicent. Aunt Mill was a math teacher at “The Embassy School” and since I’m horrible in math, Mom and Dad thought it would be a good idea. Only trouble was, Aunt Mill lived in Paris. Mom stressed that it would only be until Baby-X came and her enforced bed-rest was over. I told her I’d rather take my chances at Saint Agnes’s, with the ex-prison-guard nuns, or even at Paddington Puddin’head Middle School. They said they weren’t negotiating. They wouldn’t even say why. I argued with them for like ten hours, but didn’t even make a dent. “Trust us, Daisy, it’s for the best,” they said. Yeah, right. They just wanted to be rid of me. They didn’t want me around when the baby came. They thought I’d punch Baby-X in the nose.
I knew I wasn’t supposed to be all whiney about going to Paris, wonderful-blah-blah Paris, city of blah-blah light and all that blah, but it was so far away and I’d been there already and I even went up in the Eiffel Tower and all the other blah-blah stuff.
Clymene came over to my bed when the lights were out and whispered that she wanted to talk. I said go away, I don’t talk to psycho-SUV-crashers. She ignored that and whispered that she heard Mom and Dad talking and they felt terrible. I said, “good.” She said, “No, Daisy, you don’t get it. Dad was talking about how the school psychologist thought you were suffering from post-traumatic-shock disorder from the experience on the island and that you were prone to violent outbursts and that you should be put on medication before you returned to school. That’s why Mom was screaming, “over my dead body.’”
So it was all decided. Phone calls were made. E-mails went flying. I didn’t even need a student visa since I was being home-schooled by Aunt Mill. I got a text from Lucia. She wanted to boycott school in protest of my leaving. Really she was just afraid to go back to school. No way Martin was going to stop picking on her. It was only going to get worse. And I wouldn’t be there to stop him.
I left on a Saturday. Air France. Mom and Dad used up all their airplane miles.
So what did I know about Aunt Mill, besides that she lived in Paris? She was Mom’s older sister. She wasn’t married and didn’t have kids and only came to visit a few times, when I was little, during holidays. She always told good bedtime stories, but I couldn’t remember any of them. She always gave us gifts like Becassine and Bleuette dolls, which are old French dolls that nobody ever heard of, and Little Prince lunch boxes and candy shaped like sea shells that came in little jewelry boxes but tasted all right anyway, and old copies of Semaine de Suzette magazine, which neither Cly or I could read, but which Mom insisted were collectors items and hid away somewhere.
So I really didn’t know Aunt Mill at all. Mom said I was going to love her. She said we were a lot alike. To tell you the truth, after hearing what Clymene said, I was so sick of everything that I just hoped the plane crashed into the icy Atlantic. If I survived the crash maybe I could live on an iceberg and eat seal blubber and live in an ice cave and if a search party found me I’d talk in a pretend language so they’d think I was the missing link or something and leave me alone.