On the hottest day in the middle of July, young Willa Jean sat pouting on the bench next to the playground, in the fresh shade near the mulberry bush. As the other children played nicely on the play structure, Willa Jean sent them dirty looks. Now, it wasn’t exactly that Willa did not like these kids personally, but that Willa Jean hated not receiving attention, like now. How dare Mrs. Rosét send her to the red time-out bench? How dare her mom send her to summer camp?
Willa tried to look unbothered and occupied, but it felt very uncomfortable smiling while Willa’s mouth was so tired, so Willa Jean relaxed her mouth. Willa could not stand looking sad and lonely while she was in time-out. She decided to entertain herself by pulling on a leaf from a bush behind her.
“Willa Jean,” called Sadie Lu, the CIT stepping from the red-doored summer camp building. “You can not go play until you say sorry to Juliana.”
“No,” said Willa Jean proudly. “She doesn’t deserve my honest apology.”
“You hurt her feelings,” said Sadie Lu, calmly. “And I am sorry, but you may not go play until you say sorry.” Fortunately, Sadie Lu knew Willa Jean very well by now. She knew you had to argue with Willa Jean to get her to do something before she did it.
“Explain to me exactly how I hurt her in any way?” protested Willa Jean, “I, in fact, didn’t even touch her. I was just independently playing on the mat.”
“Willa, you know what you did, and if you can not confess you will have to stay here until you do.” Sadie Lu had paid no attention to the things Willa Jean had said.
“Fine,” muttered Willa Jean. She might not be able to use a proud voice anymore, but she was definitely not going to use her desperate voice.
“So I can go get her?” asked Sadie Lu.
“Yes,” confessed Willa Jean. She stood very still as Sadie went to get Juliana.
When Sadie arrived with Juliana, Juliana stuck her tongue out at Willa Jean, who did not hesitate to do the same. Sadie looked down at Juliana, who immediately put on a puppy-dog face and said in a hysterically fake voice to Willa Jean, “Sadie, is Willa Jean going to say she is sorry?”
“Yes,” answered Sadie Lu, which Willa Jean found very offensive because Sadie Lu never listened to her when she said stuff like that. “Aren’t you Willa Jean?”
“I’m sorry, and I take back… nothing!” Willa Jean declared, head looking down upon Juliana like she was older.
“That’s not fair!” shouted Juliana, hand sticking out to Willa Jean, eyes looking at Sadie who was definitely too young for a situation like this.
Sadie sighed. “Willa Jean, please say you are sorry.”
“I just did!” protested Willa Jean, who thought she had definitely won this battle.
“You did not! Nuu-uhh.” snapped Juliana.
“Yu-huh,” hissed Willa Jean. So Sadie, the guardian of this problem, was satisfied with her defeat and said they could both go play as long as they kept their distance.
That baby, thought Willa Jean. I bet that baby Juliana doesn’t even know how to tie her own thick pink and perfect laces. I bet her mom does it for her. Willa Jean felt pleased with her own maturity and rushed to the slide to slip down.
A day could never be better than this.