Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake

Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake by Julie Sternberg Read Free Book Online

Book: Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake by Julie Sternberg Read Free Book Online
Authors: Julie Sternberg
then.
    “We all make mistakes,” he said.
    “The important thing
    is to keep trying to make up for them,
    for as long as it takes.”
    He held the sweatshirt up for me to see.
    It looked pasty
    and splotchy.
    “My stain-fighting magic needs time to set,” he said.
    “And then we need to wash the whole sweatshirt
    in hot water.
    Do you want to wear it tomorrow?”
    I nodded.
    “And every single day for the rest of the year,” I said.
    “If I have to.”
    He nodded
    and said, “I like the way you’re thinking.”

The next morning, before the bell,
    I was too scared to walk into my classroom.
    I didn’t want to see
anyone
    who knew what had happened
    the day before.
    I wanted so badly
    to hide in the bathroom.
    But I couldn’t!
    Because what if Pearl and Ainsley were
    back in their stall?
    Or
    what if the kindergartner was there?

    The poor, cute kindergartner
    that I’d
yelled
at?
    Instead of the bathroom,
    I stuck my head in my cubby
    for a very long time,
    pretending to look for something.
    I heard crowds of kids walk by.
    I ignored them all.
    I ignored the pain in my neck
    and back and shoulders, too.
    Until the warning bell rang.
    And I had no choice.
    I had to go in.
    As soon as I stepped into the classroom,
    I noticed Adam and Ben
    at the back of the room,
    tossing a squishy football
    and laughing.
    Like
nothing
had happened!
    I glared at those happy boys.
    Especially Ben,
    who’d started
everything
with his stupid chanting!
    And then Mrs. Ramji exclaimed, “Eleanor!”
    I turned to her quickly
    and held my breath.
    Was she mad at me?
    Had she heard about my meanness?
    She didn’t look mad.
    “I love your sweatshirt!” she said. “It’s so
lively
!”
    “Thanks,” I said.
    I glanced over at Ainsley then.
    She was sitting at her desk.
    I’d hoped she might smile
    if I wore the sweatshirt.
    But she was definitely not smiling.
    “Ainsley’s mom designed it,”
    I told Mrs. Ramji quickly.
    So Ainsley would hear me give her mom credit.
    But Ainsley just frowned deeper.
    She looked like
    she wanted me
    to
take
the sweatshirt
off
.
    I crossed my arms over my chest.
    I didn’t have anything to change into!
    “Your mom is very talented, Ainsley,”
    Mrs. Ramji said.
    Ainsley did smile a little then,
    but only at Mrs. Ramji.
    And she thanked her.
    Then Mrs. Ramji said to the whole class,
    “All right, everyone. Let’s get started.”
    So I had to go sit in my seat.
    Right next to Pearl.
    She wouldn’t even look at me.
    She leaned
away
from me
    and took a notebook out of her backpack.
    I’d helped her decorate the outside of that notebook!
    But she definitely wasn’t having
    happy decorating memories.
    She set the notebook down, hard, on her desk
    and slammed a pen on top of it

    and stared straight ahead.
    I kept looking at her.
    But she wouldn’t look back.
    “I’m sorry!” I wanted to tell her.
    “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
    I’m
so
sorry.”
    But I’d already tried that.
    And she’d told me to
go away
.
    My shoulders slumped a little,
    and I shook my head.
    I’d never get Pearl back.
    We’d never be friends again.
    She’d never tell me one of her poems
    or call me on the phone and shout,
    “Eleanor! It’s Pearl!”
    I was starting to cry
    in school
    for the second day in a row,
    when a wadded-up ball of paper flew through the air
    and landed on my desk.
    I knew exactly what that flying piece of paper was.
    I opened it up
    and smoothed it out.
    Sure enough, Nicholas Rigby had drawn me a picture.
    This one had a little row of chicks.

    He’d labeled them “Marshmallow Peeps.”
    And he’d written,
    right above them,
    “Don’t be sad.”
    I wiped tears off my cheeks
    and folded that picture neatly
    and put it on top of the pile of pictures
    I kept in my desk.
    Then I turned and whispered to him, “Thanks,”
    like I always did.
    He kicked the back of my chair,
    not too hard,
    like he always did.
    And I had to admit,
    he’d made me feel

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