“Get off me!”
“Dude look at this-”
“Is that a plant-”
An exasperated teacher, couple of third graders and a bus driver never go well together. Lots and lots of screaming. Chloe was going on about Brian’s icky hands, Jessica was shushing everyone, Jack tried to pluck a plant through the window and Mr. Browne… well, let’s just say it wasn’t doing his headache any good.
The bus suddenly came to a stop and so did the cacophonous screams.
“Why did we stop?! Mr. Browne! What’s going on?!”
Well, except for Chloe’s.
“Guys, we’ve a little problem with the bus,” Mr. Browne said. Anxious whispers sounded through the bus, and Mr. Browne quieted them down. “Not to worry, we have Mr. Tommy-” he gestured to the bus driver, “to help us fix the problem.”
“Indeed. I’ll be right back.” With that, Mr. Tommy left the bus. The students began chattering again. Wouldn’t kill if I got out of the bus for a minute or two, Mr. Browne thought, would it? And so, he too left the bus.
The children continued to spread chaos around, none of them noticing the absence of anyone with the IQ of anything above 75.
“Hey, nerd,” Luke teased. Coco ignored him and stared outside the window. He smirked. “You ignoring me?”
“Stop it!” Coco fought back and shoved him – maybe a little too hard. Luke uttered a yelp as he fell to the hard blue floor of the bus. “OW!”
A collected gasp escaped everyone’s mouths as they crowded around Luke.
“Oh my God!”
“Are you okay?”
Coco slowly stood up from her seat and held out a hand for him. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to push you!”
Luke stared at her hand for a while before he took her hand. He shifted from one foot to another and fixed his eyes down. His sneakers must have looked fascinating to him. “I’m sorry too,” he said and Coco’s cheeks lifted as a bright grin lit up her face.
Chloe handed him his water bottle and Jessica took out the wet-wipes. Brian and Jack helped him to his seat, along with Nate and Malcolm. Luke’s eyes sparkled as he thanked everyone, a fond smile on his face.
A wave of chatter blew around the bus. But this time, there was a difference – it was happier and joyful and genuine.
Mr. Browne soon returned and was perplexed at the sight. Were they actually getting along? He looked from student to student and not one of them was anything but happy!
He squinted slightly and said, “What’s going on here? Why’s everyone… happy?”
“Nothing. We’re just talking!” Jessica sounded as happy as a sandboy.
“Yup!” Chloe and Brian agreed as one.
“Okay…” Mr. Browne was still confused, maybe more than ever, but… he was happy. He was glad they weren’t fighting anymore, though his angry façade might say otherwise.
Little did they know, their little peaceful resolution had made a certain Mr. Browne very happy. Maybe a tired teacher, couple of third graders and a bus driver aren’t so bad after all.
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