Sam’s Little Disaster

Sam woke up Tuesday morning knowing it would be special. It helped a great deal that Monday proved to be a complete disaster, but when you’re eleven years old how disastrous is a complete disaster really?

It had taken a long time for Sam to fall asleep the night previous. There was nothing good to take away from yesterday, so he couldn’t even say he was glad it was over. He wished so greatly that it never happened that he forced his eyes shut in bed for what felt like hours before sleep took him. When it finally did he did not know, but when he awoke he very distinctly remembered flying. He flew over and past everything he knew, which wasn’t much but enough for a boy of his age, and eventually past many things he did not know. He flew and flew until he finally rested on the tip of a crescent moon. Sam felt big, important even. He could fly!

This dream is how Sam knew today would be special. This dream is what an enlivened Sam knew would put yesterday behind him. It wouldn’t matter that Amanda, the school’s smartest and most popular girl had laughed at him when he read a poem about the pretty green eyes of the school’s prettiest girl. He’d even rhymed green with serene, which he thought was special. Cool even. And while the poem could have been about any other green-eyed girl, Sam made an unconscious point of staring, dreamily, at Amanda the whole time he recited the poem.

It wasn’t just Amanda who laughed, and it wasn’t just the other students. Sam spotted the closest thing he had to a best friend, Jack, trying to contain himself. Even Mrs. Ellis’ already rosy cheeks had reddened as she lowered her head when Sam looked to her for the assurance that he had at least completed the assignment. He hoped the class’ reaction would not count against him. He hung his head as he walked back to his seat and he kept it down, buried in his folded arms, for the rest of class. He didn’t even hand the poem to Mrs. Ellis — which by the end of class was a clump of tear- and snot-dampened paper.

Somehow, today was going to be better. And it was. Jack didn’t apologize for yesterday, but he shared some of the cookies his older sister baked that night and he never once mentioned Sam’s poem. Sam even got two cookies. This was better than an apology, and it meant that he didn’t have to talk about his little disaster. And it was little; at least it was getting there.

If the other students in his class had told anyone else at school Sam didn’t notice, because the pointing, teasing and laughter never came. In fact, Sam didn’t even notice his classmates smirking or laughing at him when class began, because it never happened.

Sam was beaming. Little by little, yesterday’s complete disaster grew littler and littler, less and less significant. That was until he spotted Amanda getting up from the cool kid’s table at lunch headed in what he was certain couldn’t be his direction.

When Amanda stopped in front of him and met his gaze, he blinked and bit the tip of his tongue as he hurriedly shut his mouth. He withheld the hiss of a shout aching to burst free. Amanda had come to apologize for yesterday, and even thanked him for what she called a beautiful poem. Before she left, she bent to plant a kiss with what Sam was certain were the world’s softest lips on his cheek. Sam flushed immediately, Amanda smiled and walked back to her tabled and, when she was finally seated, Jack kicked Sam under the table. Everyone in the cafeteria was looking at Sam in wonder, whispering to his or her neighbors.

Sam was so elated he wore a smile the rest of the day. He was flying again, and when he recounted his lunch to his parents at dinner he soared higher still.

That night in his dreams, Sam flew to the moon again, making a pit stop in the school cafeteria to relive his kiss from Amanda. When his mother came to wake him the next morning she found Sam sleeping with a smile on his face. She was certain she knew why. She let him rest just a few minutes more before returning, gently shaking his shoulder as she spoke.

“Sam, it’s time to get up.”

Though Sam never woke that day, he remained at rest with a most contented smile.