Rocky Road

Rocky Road by Rose Kent Read Free Book Online

Book: Rocky Road by Rose Kent Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rose Kent
crybaby, which made him toss his stuffed turtle at me.
    In the kitchen Ma unloaded more groceries. Bags were scattered all across the floor and the counter.
    I spotted a familiar package sticking out of a bag and pulled it out. Chocolate pinwheel cookies. Yum. I ripped open the package and dug in.
    “Not too many,” Ma said loudly, still trying to drown out Jordan’s wails. “Chicken potpies are in the oven.”
    Ugggh
. I hate chicken potpies, especially the store brand Ma buys. The crust always burns, and the vegetables taste like they’ve been soaked in glue.
    The Jordan volume had lowered temporarily, but then his shrieks returned. It’s funny how people think deaf kids are soundless when they can bark louder than a hundred sea lions.
    I poured a glass of milk and looked at Ma. “Why is he talking about meanies at school?”
    Ma shook her head. “Jordan didn’t get off on the right foot with his new class.”
    “What did he do?”
    “The class was spread out on the floor building a Happytown milk-carton village, and Jordan wasn’t watching where he was going and squashed the police station flat like he was King Kong.The kids got really mad, and the teacher asked Jordan to apologize, and I guess he felt like they were all ganging up on him.”
    “What did he do?”
    “He uprooted Popsicle-stick trees from Happytown and tossed them at the kids. The teacher had to put him in time-out.”
    Whoa. The Dobson kids were two for two for bad behavior today. At least I didn’t destroy property.
    “What did
you
do?” I asked.
    “The teacher’s the captain of the classroom ship, Tess, and she handled things just fine. Personally I think Jordan couldn’t understand those kids. They talk faster in New York, so it’s hard for him to read their lips. He’ll get used to it, though.”
    Ma’s reaction amazed me. Wouldn’t most mothers be humiliated if their kid terrorized Happytown? Not Ma. She acted la-di-da. I wanted to tell her that we shouldn’t rely on Jordan reading lips. A sign-language instructor once told me that people only get thirty percent of the spoken meaning by looking at lips. And I wanted to tell her that she had to handle Jordan’s brat attacks better—but I didn’t. Words always fail me with Ma.
    “Jordan’s new school looks super, Tess. It’s a regular ol’ public school, with plenty of special-needs kids—three others are deaf. They all looked happier than armadillos digging grub worms.”
    The apartment suddenly felt calmer. FrankenJordan’s roars had subsided to whimpers. Ma checked the oven, and I swiped another cookie.
    “Did you tell the teacher what a hard time Jordan has reading?” I asked.
    “Didn’t have to tell her anything. She’s an educator.”
    Reading is hard enough for deaf kids because they can’t hear the sounds. But in San Antonio I sensed that the teacher knew Jordan’s trouble wasn’t what he didn’t hear, but what
Ma
didn’t hear. She needed to sign more herself and not give in to his fuss fits. It reminded me of a movie I’d seen about Helen Keller and how she used to throw tantrums before she met her teacher Annie Sullivan because she had no other way to express herself.
    I peeked in the oven. The potpies looked bubbly and mushy, and the crusts were already starting to burn.
    “Hey, Ma, did you know this apartment complex is for
old
people?”
    Ma set three plates on the counter. “You mean
seniors
, and of course I know. The way I see it, we could benefit from their seasoning.”
    “Then you haven’t met the old navy nut.”
    “Chief? Why, he saved the day this morning. Jordan was sprawled on the lobby floor, banging his fists and screaming ’cause he wanted to watch TV and skip the visit to his new school. Putting socks on a rooster would’ve been easier than getting him in the car. Just when I was about to give up, Chief limped over to help. He’s a good-hearted fella.”
    “Good-hearted fella?”
    “You bet. He showed Jordan his

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