a short story by Andrea Cannon
Lily sits nervously in a gray, straight-backed chair. She sees nothing around her, only the large wooden desk looming in front of her. The woman sitting behind the desk is staring down at Lily over horn-rimmed glasses with rhinestone frames.
“Well, what do you have to say for yourself, young lady?”
Lily can’t think of anything to say. She is not sure how she got here. She only looks at the woman’s glasses, mesmerized by how bright and sparkly they are.
“And the bubble gum incident is just the beginning,” the woman says, eyeing the book that lay open on her desk.
The woman confuses Lily. She sounds ancient and stern, like her grandmother, but she looks safe and fun like her mother.
“It says here you’ve also been pulling Susan’s hair every day in the lunch line,” the woman continues. “You were questioned about the hair-pulling just last week. It seems to me you may have told a little white lie about it.” The woman ends her sentence with a ‘hhmmm’ and a raised eyebrow directed right at Lily.
Lily doesn’t respond. She only sits, scared, fiddling with the hem of her plaid jumper. It was true. She had been picking on Susan, but how did this lady know? Lily bends her head over, wishing she could pull the red ribbon from her hair.
Any other day her hair would have been a stringy mess falling in front of her face. But today, of all days, she had insisted on wearing the ribbon. ‘You and your red ribbon are going to make us late,’ her mother had said. And then they rushed to the car and sped into traffic.
Lily and her friend Melissa had planned it yesterday at recess. They were both supposed to wear red ribbons in their hair today. Lily hasn’t seen Melissa yet today. She wonders if Melissa remembered.
A clicking sound startles Lily from her thoughts. She looks up to see the woman tapping her fingers on the desk.
“It will be just a few more moments before He can see you. Try to behave yourself in the meantime.”
Lily hears a bell chime and Ms. Horn-rimmed-glasses sits up a bit taller. She cocks her head to the side and raises her hand to her right ear. It’s a strange gesture, like she is trying to…