Chapter 4: Hey Todd

I sat down at the computer, logged into my e-mail account, and clicked on the “drafts” icon. My half-finished letter to Todd jumped onto the screen. I read over what I had written so far.

Hey Todd,

Hi! How are you doing? How do you like Oregon? How do you like your new school? Is it big? I guess any school looks big compared to our school at Clarksfield. If your school uses at least two classroom, you got us beat. Of course, you’re kind of to blame for our school being smaller than last year, since you and Chad did leave us in the dust. ; )

Just kidding. I don’t blame you anymore. I know you didn’t want to move.

School really isn’t the same without you guys, though. Like yesterday at recess, Little Rachel got mad at Big Rachel because she got her out in 4-square, and I knew that if you guys were there, one of you would have said or done something funny. Then everyone would have laughed and forgotten all about it. Instead, Little Rachel stayed mad for, like, half the day.

That’s another thing that’s different, this year—we have all the grades in one classroom. Lower graders and upper graders are mixed together, and it gets kind of weird sometimes.

Plus, I don’t think the two Rachels enjoy being called Big and Little. I bet if you and Chad were here, you guys could come up with way better nicknames for them. Any suggestions?

Even though it’s different, it’s kind of fun having the younger kids in our classroom. It makes things interesting—especially the littlest kids, like the two Davids. They’re such a riot! Yesterday, David M. volunteers have prayer before lunch, so we all bow our heads, and he starts in with, “Dear Jesus, thank you for the sun, and thank you for the moon, and thank you for the stars, and thank you for the grass, and thank you for my toy fire truck, and thank you for the little plastic fireman who drives my toy fire truck, and thank you for the batteries in my toy fire truck that make it go WEEEEEE-OOOOOOO, WEEEEEE-OOOOOOO, WEEEEEE-OOOOOOO!” Seriously! And he went on for, like, five minutes before Miss Jones finally had to put in an “amen” and end it.

Of course, it’s not so cute when the other David, Rebekah’s little brother, starts answering my math problems. The other day, Miss Jones was helping me with math, as she asks, “What’s eight times eight,” because that was the next step in the problem. Well, you know I was never too great with the eights, so I was trying to add them up quick, and David just blurts out, “Sixty-four!” from all the way across the room. I mean, really! Schooled by a second grader! How embarrassing is that?

Speaking of embarrassing, remember how I told you Miss Jones ratted me out to my mom, about how I wasn’t wearing my glasses at school? Well, my mom took me to this new eye doctor, and he went on and on about how terrible my eyesight is, and how I really need to be wearing glasses all the time, not just at school. He acted surprised I was even able to walk into the building without slamming into parked cars! So now I have to wear my glasses all day, every day. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m actually kind of glad. I mean, I never realized people could see the individual leaves and branches on trees! It’s like there’s this whole world I was missing out on because I was too stubborn to wear my glasses. Now I can–

This was where my e-mail ended. I had started it that morning, but had to leave for school before I could finish. I couldn’t remember what I had been about to write when I’d stopped, so I deleted the unfinished sentence and thought about what to say next.

High on my list of things to talk about was the news of what had happened that very day in school. I placed my fingers on the keys and began to type.

Guess what? We got two new students today! And they’re in our grade! Do you remember those twins, Ian and Carlos, we met at camp meeting that one year? Well, now they’re going to be coming to our school. They’re identical twins, and I can’t tell them apart yet, but they like to play soccer, which is cool because you know how I can never get anyone to play soccer with me. Plus they’re kind of cute.

I stopped typing and frantically hit the backspace key, as if I were afraid Todd could read the e-mail before I even sent it. Some things you just can’t talk about with guy friends…or with anyone else, for that matter.

For instance, I didn’t tell Todd or any of my friends what had been going on at home lately. I couldn’t talk about how my heart dropped down to the pit of my stomach every day when my father came home from work, and stayed there for as long as it took me to figure out that he hadn’t been drinking. I never mentioned to anyone how I monitored my parents’ interactions carefully, rejoicing each time they made it through an entire conversation without fighting. Before the separation, that had been rare. Strange as it sounds, I was having a hard time adjusting to the idea of two happy parents who were working on their relationship.

But since I wasn’t about to say any of that in my e-mail, I decided to wrap things up.

Well, anyway, I hope you’re doing okay in Oregon. Have fun with your pet pig and your new friends, but don’t forget about us, here. We miss you!

Your Friend,


Several days later, I received a reply from Todd in my inbox.

My e-mail to Todd had been about two pages worth of stories, questions, and updates. Todd’s response was exactly two sentences.

Hey Chrissy,

How about calling the younger Rachel “Rachel-the-Second-but-No-Less-Important,” and call the other Rachel “Big-But-Not-in-a-Heavy-Way-Just-Older-Rachel?” Too long?


I sighed heavily.


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Chapter 4: Hey Todd

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