Chapter no 39 – ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌The Padawan Bites the Dust‌


I’m not sure at what point that night Auggie had cut off his Padawan braid, or why that made me really mad. I had always found his obsession with everything Star Wars kind of geeky, and that braid in the back of his hair, with its little beads, was just awful. But he had always been so proud of it, of how long it took him to grow it, of how he had chosen the beads himself in a crafts store in Soho. He and Christopher, his best friend, used to play with lightsabers and Star Wars stuff whenever they got together, and they had both started growing their braids at the same time. When August cut his braid off that night, without an explanation, without telling me beforehand (which was surprising)—or even calling Christopher—I was just so upset I can’t even explain why.

I’ve seen Auggie brushing his hair in the bathroom mirror. He meticulously tries to get every hair in place. He tilts his head to look at himself from different angles, like there’s some magic perspective inside the mirror that could change the dimensions of his face.

Mom knocked on my door after dinner. She looked drained, and I realized that between me and Auggie, today had been a tough day for her, too.

“So you want to tell me what’s up?” she asked nicely, softly.

“Not now, okay?” I answered. I was reading. I was tired. Maybe later I’d be up to telling her about Miranda, but not now.

“I’ll check in before you go to bed,” she said, and then she came over and kissed me on the top of my head.

“Can Daisy sleep with me tonight?” “Sure, I’ll bring her in later.”

“Don’t forget to come back,” I said as she left. “I promise.”

But she didn’t come back that night. Dad did. He told me Auggie had had a bad first day and Mom was helping him through it. He asked me how my day had gone and I told him fine. He said he didn’t believe me for a second, and I told him Miranda and Ella were acting

like jerks. (I didn’t mention how I took the subway home by myself, though.) He said nothing tests friendships like high school, and then proceeded to poke fun at the fact that I was reading War and Peace. Not real fun, of course, since I’d heard him brag to people that he had a “fifteen-year-old who is reading Tolstoy.” But he liked to rib me about where I was in the book, in a war part or in a peace part, and if there was anything in there about Napoleon’s days as a hip-hop dancer. It was silly stuff, but Dad always managed to make everyone laugh. And sometimes that’s all you need to feel better.

“Don’t be mad at Mom,” he said as he bent down to give me a good- night kiss. “You know how much she worries about Auggie.”

“I know,” I acknowledged.

“Want the light on or off? It’s getting kind of late,” he said, pausing by the light switch at the door.

“Can you bring Daisy in first?”

Two seconds later he came back with Daisy dangling in his arms, and he laid her down next to me on the bed.

“Good night, sweetheart,” he said, kissing my forehead. He kissed Daisy on her forehead, too. “Good night, girlie. Sweet dreams.”

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