Andy on Sunday

On Sunday morning, Andy woke up early.  He didn’t mean to, just that one minute he was deep in sleep, and the next, his eyes popped open on their own, and he was wide awake.  His feelings were a strange mix of anxious and happy.  For a moment, he could not figure out why this was happening.  Then he remembered; sledding yesterday, riding with Elisa, and talking about going back to the same hill today.

Immediately the nervous feelings took over.  What if Elisa was just being nice and had no intention of sledding today?  What if he went, and she was there, and he acted like a total dork?  What if she already thought he was a dork, and she was just being nice because she felt sorry for him? When Connor came over around noon, Andy asked him all these questions.  Connor looked at him, shook his head, and rolled his eyes. “Andy”, he said, “Elisa is a really nice girl.  She isn’t like that.”  Of course, Andy knew this to be true; he just needed someone to remind him.  Besides, he told himself, she is a friend, and she just happens to be a girl.  She is NOT my girlfriend, so I have nothing to worry about.

With confidence restored, Andy was in a much better frame of mind.  He and Connor put on hats, boots, and gloves, got their sleds and headed over to meet the other kids (and Elisa) at the hill.  When they got there, they saw Elisa pulling her sled up to the top of the hill.  “Perfect timing”, thought Andy.  After talking for a few minutes, and laughing about the races and the upsets of the day before, the three friends started taking turns sledding down the hill.  Then they started racing.  Elisa won most of the races, because her sled was a little heavier and slid downhill faster than the sleds belonging to the other kids.  Like yesterday though, they were having way too much fun to care who won any of the races.

After about an hour of sledding down the hill and trudging back to the top, pulling sleds, they stopped to catch their breath.  Most of the other kids had already gone home.  The sky was getting a little darker, and the temperature had dropped.  It looked like it was about to start snowing again.  Elisa’s lips were turning blue from the cold (although, to her credit, she never complained), and the boys were starting to shiver.  Andy suggested that they all go back to his house, which was just down the street a short walk, and have some hot chocolate.  Both Elisa and Connor were more than ready to get out of the cold, and into a nice cozy house with a cup of hot chocolate to warm their hands and their insides.

Once there, they hung up coats and took off their sledding gear.  Dad had made a fire in the fireplace, and they sipped gratefully at the delicious hot chocolate that Andy’s mom brought in for them.  The conversation started off about favorite movies and favorite foods.  Elisa told them about her favorite meal, which was her mom’s paella, a mixture of rice, chicken, sausage, and sometimes shrimp.  Then she told them about the flan they sometimes had for dessert.  This was a caramel pastry with a creamy custard filling.  The boys’ mouths were watering at her description of the meal.  Andy and Connor wanted to know more about Elisa’s family.  She told them that her parents were from Cuba and had come to the United States before Elisa was born.  She told them that her mother usually cooked American food, but she frequently cooked Cuban and Spanish dishes, as well.

Then the talk turned to school.  They talked about classes; compared teachers and discussed who their favorite teachers were.  After a pause in the conversation, during which Mom came into the room with a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies, Andy started telling Elisa and Connor about the new reading program he was working on.  He talked about what he had read about mythology, and he talked about the reading test on astronomy, and his grade of B.  Connor, who knew that Andy used to have a difficult time with reading, was grinning from ear to ear as his friend talked.  He had never heard Andy excited about reading before. Then Connor and Andy started talking about things they liked to read about.

Then a strange thing happened.  Elisa, who had been talking and laughing every bit as much as Connor and Andy, suddenly stopped talking.  She just stopped.  Both boys looked at her.  She looked upset, and her cheeks were kind of pink.  Andy asked if she was ok.  She replied quickly that she was fine, and that it was late and time for her to get home.  And she left.  Connor stayed for a little while longer, and they talked about what had happened with Elisa.  Had they done something to hurt her feelings?  Was she angry at them?  They both came to the conclusion that whatever was bothering her was a mystery.

After Connor went home, Andy felt a little let down.  He was still concerned about Elisa’s sudden change of mood.  What had upset her so suddenly?  “Let’s see”, he thought, as he replayed the conversation of the afternoon.  “She was ok when we talked about movies and food and school.  What were we talking about when we noticed that she had stopped talking?  Oh yeah, the reading stuff”.  Suddenly it was as if a million watt lightbulb had gone off in Andy’s brain.  He knew what was bothering Elisa.  He knew why she stopped talking and left so abruptly.  He remembered feeling the same way, too many times to count.  Elisa was ashamed.  She wanted to avoid the talk about books and reading.  Elisa had a problem with reading, just like he did.  Correction, just like the one he used to have, the one that he was quickly overcoming.  He spent the rest of the evening thinking about how he could help Elisa.  By the time he went to bed, he had thought of a plan.  He couldn’t wait to see her in homeroom, when they went back to school on Monday.

1) Andy was both anxious and happy when he woke up    because  
  a) it was Sunday
  b) Dad had not made breakfast
  c) he was going to see Elisa again

2) Andy was worried that  
  a) the snow would melt before they got to the hill

  b) that Elisa was just being nice because she felt sorry for him
  c) that his sled would break

3) Who won most of the sled races?  
  a) Elisa

  b) Connor
  c) Andy

4) Andy, Connor, and Elisa went to Andy’s house to  
  a) drink hot chocolate and talk  
  b)  study for a test
  c)  watch TV

5) When Andy and Connor started talking about reading, Elisa  
  a) named all her favorite books
  b) said that she didn’t like to read
  c) stopped talking and went home