Last Summer with Maizon

Last Summer with Maizon by Jacqueline Woodson Read Free Book Online

Book: Last Summer with Maizon by Jacqueline Woodson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jacqueline Woodson
Maizon’s train.
    â€œI guess I gotta go,” Maizon said softly, and Margaret felt a lump rise in her throat.
    â€œI’ll write you back, Margaret. Promise. Thanks for letting me keep the double-dutch trophy even if it is only second place.” They hugged for a long time. Maizon sniffed loudly. “I’m scared, Margaret,” she whispered.
    Margaret didn’t know what to say. “Don’t be.”
    â€œBye, Ms. Tory.”
    Margaret’s mother bent down and hugged Maizon. “Be good,” she said as Maizon and her grandmother made their way toward the train.
    â€œMama,” Margaret said as they watched Maizon and her grandmother disappear into the tunnel.
    â€œWhat, dear?”
    â€œWhat’s the difference between a best friend and an old friend?”
    â€œI guess ...” Her mother thought for a moment. “I guess an old friend is a friend you once had and a best friend is a friend you’ll always have.”
    â€œThen maybe me and Maizon aren’t best friends anymore.”
    â€œDon’t be silly, Margaret. What else would you two be? Some people can barely tell you apart. I feel like I’ve lost a daughter.”
    â€œMaybe ... I don’t know ... Maybe we’re old friends now. Maybe this was our last summer as best friends. I feel like something’s going to change now and I’m not going to be able to change it back.”
    Ms. Tory’s heels made a clicking sound through the terminal. She stopped to buy tokens and turned to Margaret.
    â€œLike when Daddy died?” she asked, looking worried.
    Margaret swallowed. “No. I just feel empty instead of sad, Mama,” she said.
    Her mother squeezed her hand as they waited for the train. When it came, they took seats by the window.
    Ms. Tory held on to Margaret’s hand. “Sometimes it just takes a while for the pain of loss to set in.”
    â€œI feel like sometimes Maizon kept me from doing things, but now she’s not here. Now I don’t have any”—Margaret thought for a moment, but couldn’t find the right words—“now I don’t have any excuse not to do things.”
    When the train emerged from its tunnel, the late afternoon sun had turned a bright orange. Margaret watched it for a moment. She looked at her hands again and discovered a cuticle she had missed.

9
    M argaret pressed her pencil to her lips and stared out the classroom window. The school yard was desolate and gray. But everything seemed that way since Maizon left. Especially since Maizon hadn’t written even once since she left. Margaret sighed and chewed her eraser.
    â€œMargaret, are you working on this assignment?”
    Margaret jumped and turned toward Ms. Peazle. Maizon had been right—Ms. Peazle was the crabbiest teacher in the school. Margaret wondered why she had been picked to teach the smartest class. If students were so smart, she thought, the least the school could do was reward them with a nice teacher.
    â€œI’m trying to think about what to write, Ms. Peazle.”
    â€œWell, you won’t find an essay on your summer vacation outside that window, I’m sure. Or is that where you spent it?”
    The class snickered and Margaret looked down, embarrassed. “No, ma’am.”
    â€œI’m glad to hear that,” Ms. Peazle continued, looking at Margaret over granny glasses. “And I’m sure in the next ten minutes you’ll be able to read your essay to the class and prove to us all that you weren’t just daydreaming. Am I right?”
    â€œI hope so, ma‘am,” Margaret mumbled. She looked around the room. It seemed everyone in 6-1 knew each other from the previous year. On the first day, a lot of kids asked her about Maizon, but after that no one said much to her. Things had changed since Maizon left. Without her, a lot of the fun had gone out of sitting on the stoop with Ms. Dell, Hattie, and

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