One silvery planet rotates beneath the curve of Helen’s ear, wisps of dark hair escaping her ponytail to fan along its axis, and Damian watches it complete its slow spin before meeting Helen’s eyes.
He nods, in approval of both the slip of paper in his hand and her subdued acknowledgement of the gift. He’s focused on his fruit gummies thereafter, measuring each one with a ruler before lining them up along his desk and consuming them individually.
With three minutes left until class begins once more, Damian stands near the coat rack, hands folded neatly at the small of his back. “Hello, Helen,” he greets her as she joins him. He leans closer toward her and lowers his voice. “Do you come bearing information on a secret mission the adults have barred us from knowing about?”
"No-ooooo." Helen links her hands behind her back and stands near to Damian for a while, swinging her body slightly. He smells interesting today — not like that Wednesday last week where he smelled like an old leather coat and Helen and Lian made merciless fun of him the whole time — more like the fancy blackcurrant pastilles that Mar’i gave Helen once. Soft gummi and covered in sugar.
Pleased with this recollection and starting to note the impatience growing on Damian’s face (a sentiment she can respect), Helen loosens her hands and says, “I read how you signed your note, Damian. So I wanted to thank you for the present but not in front of everybody, because I don’t want you to break them.”
Leaning forward, Helen kisses Damian on the mouth. There’s a little crack on his bottom lip that pokes through her sheen of lip gloss, and when she pulls back she licks at it, finding that she’s unconsciously balled her hands up into fists.
(Left in Helen’s classroom storage box)
I was accompanying Pennyworth on a shopping trip and, when I saw these earrings, I commented that they reminded me of a dress you once wore. Pennyworth said I should purchase them for you if they brought you to mind, so I did. And here they are.
If you are too effusive in your gratitude, I will reclaim them and break them as you watch. I hope the earrings bring you enjoyment.
The earrings dangle just right, even when she’s only holding them in her fingertips, and Helen smiles her slow-blooming smile as the hallway lights catch the polished rings of the planets. She abandons her mid-morning snack (a baggie of cinnamon mini-wheats) on the small table near their storage cubbies, and although it will disappear and be eaten by Lian at some point, that doesn’t matter.
When the children go in for class, Helen has tied her hair up behind her head so that the earrings are clearly visible. The ponytail is a bit too high and tight and she’s probably going to get a headache, but this way whenever she turns she can feel the earrings move.
She confines her response to smiling at Damian when he sits down, and runs her fingertip along the bottom of one rounded planet. But when it’s breaktime, Helen passes Damian a note that says, meet me by the coats just before class starts again, I need to tell you something.
it’s stuff they dust the gum with so it stays fresh and doesn’t stick to the wrappers. Different gum companies use different things, like sugar, or the stuff that they use to first make gum. Fun fact.
Ohmigosh! So the sugar ones use a really smooshed-up sugar till it’s dust? What’s the stuff that they use to make gum? Is it sap from trees? Lian licked sap on a tree trunk once but she said it wasn’t sweet like maple but we were playing with it between our fingers and it was all sticky and stretchy like gum.
Bubblegum ice cream isn’t pink? I feel like my life is a lie, now.
Isn’t it weird? Especially because proper bubblegum is so pink! I love that dusty pink, I wonder why bubblegum is always dusty? What’s that dust? I like to lick it off first sometimes.
Anonymous: What’s your favorite ice cream (or froyo or vegan version) flavor and why? How did you decide you liked this flavor the best? Is it hard to choose? Do you ever try different flavors? Why?
My favourite ice cream is anything pink! Strawberry or cherry. It’s like how drinks that are purple like grape juice and grape soda taste nicest, the same for ice cream except pink. Except once I had a pink ice cream that was pink pepper or something and it was gross, but otherwise ones that are roses or raspberries are really good!
I’ll eat chocolate and vanilla and those flavours too and bubblegum because it seems like it should be pink and not blue.
That is the CUTEST dress, Helen, I absolutely love those little crescent moons!
Thank youuuu! I was thinking of you and Auntie Zee when I got it, because you do space and she does stars and the dress looked like the space sky to me! My favourite part of Tower School is being allowed to dress how we want. When I went to public school they would NEVER let me wear dresses like that, no way.