|No actual students' papers were harmed in the making of this comic.|
(As you may be aware, this is a continuing story. It starts here, and has happened almost every day since.)
Chapter three, continued.
At home, the kid was equally unobtrusive, but in a more secure sort of way. He was loved, and he knew it, and he required no confirmation or reminder of it. It was a good thing, too, because his parents were equally reserved and quietly confident. The kid had only a dim idea of what they did all day, and their family dinners usually passed in companionable silence. Even little brother was remarkably quiet for a three-year-old.
It was rare that the anxiety of his school life should cross the threshold of his door and follow him through the kitchen, down the hall, and to his room. On this particular day, though, it had. The kid did not feel it consciously, but it was such an out-of-place feeling among his books and legos that he decided to go outside and collect his thoughts.
The air outside held, like the apples ripening on the tree whose branches hung over the neighbor's fence, a delicate balance between sweet and tart. Fall was not far off; some leaves had already begun to turn. The yard was just large enough to hold some degree of mystery and to permit some exercise of imagination. The kid looked around absentmindedly for a stick which might serve as a hunting spear or a staff. He also tugged at the tangled ends of his thoughts, somewhere within which must be what was troubling him. In the end, all he could figure out was this: some kind of big change was on its way, something he could not expect or plan for. Try as he might, the kid could not figure out why he was so sure of it. He did, however, find a really fantastically long, straight stick, which would be put to good use.