Aug 13, 2013

Taking Ira - pt1

This month I'm sharing extra bits from my WIP, things written to help with the plot and character but that won't make it into the true thing.  If you interested in reading it, I am shopping for beta readers. 

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When Monica  Anderson noticed the scabs on the back of Ira's ears, she pulled the second grader aside as she entered the classroom. “Ira dear, what happened?”

The girl cringed, hunching in on herself.  “Nothing Mrs. Anderson,” she mumbled. “I had an itch.”

Frowning, Monica let her go, but made a note to keep a closer eye on her student.  The small wounds were certainly self inflicted, not a sign of domestic abuse.  But she was unusually quite for such a chatty girl and even now her friends were crowding around her desk and asking was wrong. Ira, for her part, just put her head into her left elbow.

The bell rang, sending students scampering to their desks to begin their morning work. Ira though didn't move.

After making sure the rest of the class was working diligently, she crouched down to be level with Ira's face.

“Are you felling okay?” she asked, putting a hand on the eight year old's forehead to check for a fever. There wasn't one. “Do you have a headache?”

Ira nodded. “It's too loud,” she whispered.

The class was actually quite quiet, just the sound of pencils on paper.  Two girls in the opposite row were looking at Ira and Monica silently told them to return their eyes to their papers.

“How about you go visit Nurse Watson?”

Ira didn't answer, but Monica knew it was a good choice.

“Jessie? Can you take Ira to the nurse.”

“Sure, Mrs. Anderson.”

Monica watched as the two girls headed down the hallway, Jessie's arm linked with Ira's and Ira's head buried in her shoulder as if she was in pain.

~*~

An hour later,  Kathy Watson led a much better looking Ira back to class.

Monica got an update as the two women watched Ira take her place and pull out her math book. “She's not going home. There's nothing wrong with her, or at least, nothing I can find and she's won't say anything other than everything is loud.  She was fine resting, took a little nap, but already she looks worse than she did when she left.”

“What do you think about the scabs behind her ears?”

“She said she had bug bites she was scratching.  I put ointment on it, of course, but keep an eye out.”

“Of course.”
~*~

Ira sagged as the day progressed, asking to eat lunch and spend recess in the classroom instead of joining the rest of the students in their daily break.  Monica couldn't say no, and noted curiously that she seemed to improve now that she wasn't surrounded by her classmates.

“Why don't you sit in Johnny's desk for the rest of the day Ira?”

Situated at the back of the classroom, Johnny was the autistic child in the process of being mainstreamed. He never came on Mondays, so the desk was free.

“Okay.”

It seemed to help, though Monica noticed Ira still looked sick as the day progressed, keeping her head down most of the time.  Monica didn't insist Ira stop doodling in her notebook, which was a new thing as Ira had never been a doodler before, and didn't insist on the second grader finishing each worksheet.  But she was surprised that despite her headaches and complaints of a loud classroom, her work was much better than average.

Monica pulled Mrs. Black aside when she came to pick up her daughter.  “Ira's been off all day, you might want to consider keeping her home tomorrow.”

“Thank you.  I'll take care of her.”

~*~

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