River House Home - Refrigerator
"The Vest" by Holli Welch
… 543. I will not throw my vest over the bus driver’s eyes. 544. I will not throw my vest over the bus driver’s eyes…”
I was getting on the bus like I did everyday, heading right to the front seat where the nerds sat because I was one of them, though I wasn’t even friends with the nerds. I had my Lisa Frank lunch box and hand-sewn vest in hand, and made it to my seat without causing a scene. I had just moved to Lakeland that summer and didn’t know anyone, staying quiet would be the best way to make friends, right?
“Just smile and they’ll smile back,” I thought. “I’ll find a best friend in no time.” But that hadn’t worked so far during my first two weeks of second grade.
Sitting in my seat I listened to the kids talking around me. The boy across the aisle was talking about his friend who jumped up in class and ran to the board to answer the question.
“Mrs. Stewart didn’t even call on him, he just ran up and it was right,” he said.
And behind me the boys that liked to play kickball talked about the new kid who could run to first base and do a summersault at the same time.
Then it hit me – I was doing it all wrong. People wanted a friend that could do something funny, something spontaneous. So I did it. We were driving up to the school parking lot and I grabbed my vest – the one that my grandma made me for Christmas with hot pink flowers– and threw it right over the seat on top of the driver’s face.
I was holding in my laughter like a kid on Christmas morning, but no one else laughed. Instead it got silent really quick, that is except for the bus driver.
“Oh my – WHAT?” he yelled.
The bus stopped right in front of the school and no one moved. The bus driver – fuming like a chimney in the winter – jumped around and yanked me off the bus.
“I didn’t get to make a friend,” was all I said.
My mom rushed up to the school and picked me up from the office, frustrated and confused at her “accelerated” student. She didn’t understand how I thought I could make a friend by throwing my vest over the driver’s eyes, and I didn’t know how to explain it to her.
When we got home she threw a stack of paper at me and a pen.
“You are going to stay quiet and write, ‘I will not throw my vest over the bus driver’s eyes’ 1,000 times young lady,” she said.
…”545. I will not throw my vest over the bus driver’s eyes…”