The Ashley’s

 

There are three girls in my group with the same name. We’ll call them the Ashley’s. First there’s Ashley W. She’s really tall for a second grader, easily the tallest kid in the group. She’s so tall that one day I heard Giggles say to her, “It’s like you’re in the wrong grade.”

I felt bad for Ashley W. I looked at Giggles. I didn’t say anything, but I gave her the “How-could-you-say-that!?” look.

“What?” said Giggles, as if she did nothing wrong. “It’s true.”

I didn’t want to say anything in front of Ashley W., and I didn’t really know what to say anyway, so I gave Giggles the “It-may-be-true-but-you-still-shouldn’t-say-it” look. I think she actually got the message. Sometimes non-verbal communication works really well.

Then there’s Ashley M. I haven’t written much about her yet, but she’s a really nice kid.

Then there’s Ashley I. She’s quiet. Really quiet. Most of the girls love talking to me, but Ashley I. hardly talks to anyone, and when she does she speaks really softly so you can barely hear her. But she has friends and seems happy, so I’m not worried about her. She doesn’t say much to me, but instead just stares up at me and smiles.

Ashley I. is also noticeable because she is one of the only kids in the group who doesn’t have dark brown eyes, the way almost all Asians do. Nearly all of the kids in my group (and the entire school) are Asian (that’s how it is in Hawaii.) But she’s mixed ethnicity, and has pretty hazel eyes. (At least, I think they’re hazel. I’m not sure what you’d call them. But they’re different, that’s for sure.)

Some of the kids have various extra-curricular activities they signed up for, and Ashley I. does ballet. I know when all the activities are, and who goes to what activity, so I used to just send the kids on my own. But my supervisor told us not to send them until she radios us on the walkie talkie to do so. It’s more organized like that, and sometimes the activities are delayed or canceled, so I guess it’s a good idea.

So my boss radioed me, and named the girls I was supposed to send to ballet. “Mr. Robert, will you please send Ashley W., Mary Ann, and Kacy to ballet…” she said. So I did.

The girls were grabbing their things and preparing to go when Mary Ann whispered to me, “Ashley I. is crying.”

I looked over and saw Ashley I. with her face in her hands, crying silently.

“Uh-oh,” I thought. “We forgot about Ashley I.”

I went over to her. “Hey, it was just a mistake. We’re really sorry. You’re gonna go to ballet now, okay?”

She nodded, trying to stop the tears. But they were already flowing, so it wasn’t easy for her to stop. I felt really bad.

“Sorry, it was just an accident, we’re sorry,” I said, comforting her. Eventually she caught her breath and the tears stopped. “You okay?”

She nodded, wiping her eyes. Poor girl.

Later I joked to my supervisor, “You made Ashley I. cry!”

“How?” she asked.

“You forgot about her when you called for the ballet girls,” I explained.

“You know she’s in ballet, why didn’t you just send her?” asked my supervisor.

“You told us not to send the kids until you tell us to.”

“You actually listened to my instructions!?” she asked. I guess I (along with many of my coworkers) don’t always follow the procedures she tells us to. Oops.

“Kids,” joked my supervisor. “They’re too darned sensitive.”

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