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Chapter no 47 – ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌Time to Think‌

Wonder

August played up the stomach ache the next day so he wouldn’t have to go to school. I admit I felt a little bad for Mom, who was genuinely concerned that he had a stomach bug, but I had promised August I wouldn’t tell her about the incident at school.

By Sunday, he was still determined not to go back to school.

“What are you planning on telling Mom and Dad?” I asked him when he told me this.

“They said I could quit whenever I wanted to.” He said this while he was still focused on a comic book he was reading.

“But you’ve never been the kind of kid who quits things,” I said truthfully. “That’s not like you.”

“I’m quitting.”

“You’re going to have to tell Mom and Dad why,” I pointed out, pulling the comic book out of his hands so he’d have to look up at me while we were talking. “Then Mom will call the school and everyone will know about it.”

“Will Jack get in trouble?” “I would think so.” “Good.”

I have to admit, August was surprising me more and more. He pulled another comic book off his shelf and started leafing through it.

“Auggie,” I said. “Are you really going to let a couple of stupid kids keep you from going back to school? I know you’ve been enjoying it. Don’t give them that power over you. Don’t give them the satisfaction.”

“They have no idea I even heard them,” he explained. “No, I know, but …”

“Via, it’s okay. I know what I’m doing. I’ve made up my mind.”

“But this is crazy, Auggie!” I said emphatically, pulling the new comic book away from him, too. “You have to go back to school. Everyone hates school sometimes. I hate school sometimes. I hate my friends sometimes. That’s just life, Auggie. You want to be treated

normally, right? This is normal! We all have to go to school sometimes despite the fact that we have bad days, okay?”

“Do people go out of their way to avoid touching you, Via?” he answered, which left me momentarily without an answer. “Yeah, right. That’s what I thought. So don’t compare your bad days at school to mine, okay?”

“Okay, that’s fair,” I said. “But it’s not a contest about whose days suck the most, Auggie. The point is we all have to put up with the bad days. Now, unless you want to be treated like a baby the rest of your life, or like a kid with special needs, you just have to suck it up and go.”

He didn’t say anything, but I think that last bit was getting to him. “You don’t have to say a word to those kids,” I continued. “August,

actually, it’s so cool that you know what they said, but they don’t know you know what they said, you know?”

“What the heck?”

“You know what I mean. You don’t have to talk to them ever again, if you don’t want. And they’ll never know why. See? Or you can pretend to be friends with them, but deep down inside you know you’re not.”

“Is that how you are with Miranda?” he asked.

“No,” I answered quickly, defensively. “I never faked my feelings with Miranda.”

“So why are you saying I should?”

“I’m not! I’m just saying you shouldn’t let those little jerks get to you, that’s all.”

“Like Miranda got to you.”

“Why do you keep bringing Miranda up?” I yelled impatiently. “I’m trying to talk to you about your friends. Please keep mine out of it.”

“You’re not even friends with her anymore.”

“What does that have to do with what we’re talking about?”

The way August was looking at me reminded me of a doll’s face. He was just staring at me blankly with his half-closed doll eyes.

“She called the other day,” he said finally. “What?” I was stunned. “And you didn’t tell me?”

“She wasn’t calling you,” he answered, pulling both comic books out of my hands. “She was calling me. Just to say hi. To see how I was doing. She didn’t even know I was going to a real school now. I can’t believe you hadn’t even told her. She said the two of you don’t hang out as much anymore, but she wanted me to know she’d always love

me like a big sister.”

Double-stunned. Stung. Flabbergasted. No words formed in my mouth.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I said, finally.

“I don’t know.” He shrugged, opening the first comic book again. “Well, I’m telling Mom and Dad about Jack Will if you stop going to

school,” I answered. “Tushman will probably call you into school and make Jack and those other kids apologize to you in front of everyone, and everyone will treat you like a kid who should be going to a school for kids with special needs. Is that what you want? Because that’s what’s going to happen. Otherwise, just go back to school and act like nothing happened. Or if you want to confront Jack about it, fine. But either way, if you—”

“Fine. Fine. Fine,” he interrupted. “What?”

“Fine! I’ll go!” he yelled, not loudly. “Just stop talking about it already. Can I please read my book now?”

“Fine!” I answered. Turning to leave his room, I thought of something. “Did Miranda say anything else about me?”

He looked up from the comic book and looked right into my eyes. “She said to tell you she misses you. Quote unquote.”

I nodded.

“Thanks,” I said casually, too embarrassed to let him see how happy that made me feel.

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