“Tommy, how are things? Fill me in on the books. Are you liking them?” I asked enthusiastically knowing he was a reluctant reader and this was definitely NOT a preferred task.
He paused. His little second grade brain trying to formulate the kindest response as he was a kid with the best manners I had EVER found in an 8 year old.
“Um… yes, it’s good. I mean, it’s ok. You know I don’t love reading, Mrs. Bruno, but for a book, this one was good,” he stammered. I smiled at his honesty. It had been a joy working with him for all of second grade and I would miss him after this week of our work together. I was thankful his mother had agreed to let me work with him for my class.
The time flew by, as it always did, and his mother joined us in the sun porch.
“Join us for lunch,” she said, “as a thank you for all your work with Tommy.”
We sat around the table reminiscing of our year in 2nd grade. My being a new teacher to the building. His being a struggling reader who had made such incredible strides.
“Let me get dessert,” Carol got up from the table, “I think you’re going to love it.” I knew I would. She was an amazing baker. She had sent treats in all year long. Her blueberry muffins- to die for. Her chocolate cookies- perfection. Her banana bread- well, I didn’t eat those, but according to Stephen, the best he had ever had.
“Banana cream pie!” she declared as she placed the beautiful pie in the center of the table. It had been made with love and care. The slices of banana gently placed around the edge of the pie. Whipped cream over the center. A work of art really.
My heart sank.
“I know how much you love my mom’s banana bread, so I told her banana cream pie would be perfect for our lunch,” Tommy said proudly smiling up at me with his big, brown eyes.
“How incredibly kind of you.” Truth.
“It’s absolutely beautiful!” Truth.
“I can’t wait to try it!” LIE!
I pulled the plate up close to me. Picked up the small dessert fork. I dug down deep into the slice of pie. It truly was beautiful. Unfortunately, it’s beauty and deliciousness would be lost on me.
I pushed the fork into my mouth. And smiled as the bananas rolled around inside my mouth. Around and around and around. As if teasing me into submission. I swallowed them whole. I worked my way through the pie bit by bit attempting to try every trick I had ever been taught when eating something you truly disliked.
“I can’t thank you enough for lunch. It truly was so very kind of you to have me,” I said truly meaning every word.
“Here, bring the banana cream pie home with you… for later,” Carol urged as she pulled the foil and began wrapping the pie.
“I know how much you loved it,” she continued.
“Thank you so much. That is just so kind of you,” I replied, “It will be eaten before you know it!”
And that was the truth… Stephen ate the whole thing.