Chapter no 19 – ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌The Summer Table‌


“Hey, is this seat taken?”

I looked up, and a girl I never saw before was standing across from my table with a lunch tray full of food. She had long wavy brown hair, and wore a brown T-shirt with a purple peace sign on it.

“Uh, no,” I said.

She put her lunch tray on the table, plopped her backpack on the floor, and sat down across from me. She started to eat the mac and cheese on her plate.

“Ugh,” she said after the swallowing the first bite. “I should have brought a sandwich like you did.”

“Yeah,” I said, nodding.

“My name is Summer, by the way. What’s yours?” “August.”

“Cool,” she said.

“Summer!” Another girl came over to the table carrying a tray. “Why are you sitting here? Come back to the table.”

“It was too crowded,” Summer answered her. “Come sit here.

There’s more room.”

The other girl looked confused for a second. I realized she had been one of the girls I had caught looking at me just a few minutes earlier: hand cupped over her mouth, whispering. I guess Summer had been one of the girls at that table, too.

“Never mind,” said the girl, leaving.

Summer looked at me, shrugged-smiled, and took another bite of her mac and cheese.

“Hey, our names kind of match,” she said as she chewed. I guess she could tell I didn’t know what she meant.

“Summer? August?” she said, smiling, her eyes open wide, as she waited for me to get it.

“Oh, yeah,” I said after a second.

“We can make this the ‘summer only’ lunch table,” she said. “Only kids with summer names can sit here. Let’s see, is there anyone here

named June or July?” “There’s a Maya,” I said.

“Technically, May is spring,” Summer answered, “but if she wanted to sit here, we could make an exception.” She said it as if she’d actually thought the whole thing through. “There’s Julian. That’s like the name Julia, which comes from July.”

I didn’t say anything.

“There’s a kid named Reid in my English class,” I said.

“Yeah, I know Reid, but how is Reid a summer name?” she asked.

“I don’t know.” I shrugged. “I just picture, like, a reed of grass being a summer thing.”

“Yeah, okay.” She nodded, pulling out her notebook. “And Ms. Petosa could sit here, too. That kind of sounds like the word ‘petal,’ which I think of as a summer thing, too.”

“I have her for homeroom,” I said.

“I have her for math,” she answered, making a face.

She started writing the list of names on the second-to-last page of her notebook.

“So, who else?” she said.

By the end of lunch, we had come up with a whole list of names of kids and teachers who could sit at our table if they wanted. Most of the names weren’t actually summer names, but they were names that had some kind of connection to summer. I even found a way of making Jack Will’s name work by pointing out that you could turn his name into a sentence about summer, like “Jack will go to the beach,” which Summer agreed worked fine.

“But if someone doesn’t have a summer name and wants to sit with us,” she said very seriously, “we’ll still let them if they’re nice, okay?”

“Okay.” I nodded. “Even if it’s a winter name.” “Cool beans,” she answered, giving me a thumbs-up.

Summer looked like her name. She had a tan, and her eyes were green like a leaf.

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