|Chapter 2. Telling Henry||
The first thing I thought of when I woke up was telling my friends: especially The Gang and Henry. The Gang is Peg and Pat (twins), Kenny, Emmy, and I. We've known each other almost all our lives, and we always walk to school together.
Pat wriggled and made faces
- her mother shook her head and smiled at me, probably because I was
the only one watching.
Do you do that when
your mother brushes your hair? she said.
Finally the twins were
ready and we ran out and Mrs.Tampone closed the door and I could say:
Guess what? Of course, no one could guess. We're moving to England for six months! Our whole family! And we're going over on an ocean liner called the Liberté - on one of the last voyages that ship will ever make.
At the playground, we split up as usual ( at school, we play with kids in our own classes). I looked around the playground for Henry: the paved part was full of little kids and girls. Two in my class were turning a long jump rope and shouting:
He was in the middle of a fast dodgeball game. When no one caught it, the ball hit the fence really hard, so hard that the old metal fence shook and squeaked. I watched until the ball came close enough, then jumped up and got it. I threw it to Henry and said,
They were in opposite corners because the teacher separated us at the very beginning of the year: she put him at the front left desk and me at the back right one. But we can still tell each other things: we even did right after the teacher moved us when she said everyone would have partners for a class trip. Henry turned around in his seat and eagerly stretched out his hand to me with a big smile. I knew that meant Will you be my partner? and of course, I nodded.
I could tell he liked the idea (by the way his eyes changed) even before he said:And we can use code for things that are really private!
You mean -- make one up?I said, walking backwards.
Or write the Morse code dots and dashes?
translates the alphabet into
thing we liked to do -- at home, not at school --
I was thinking -- make one up.
That would be more private, I said. From across the street, a boy in our class yelled that I had told Miss Jessup on him (of course, I hadn't). Before I could answer, Henry shouted, really angrily:
She did not! I've known her since she was in kindergarten and she doesn't snitch!
Henry always sticks up for me. We walked along, first scuffing, then kicking, the leaves up from the sidewalk.
When are you leaving?he said.
In two weeks.
Then you can come over on Saturday!
I'll ask, I said. Oh, I hope I can! We couldplay Johnny Tremaine!
And finish our fort! Henry said.
Above me, the leaves blazed yellow, as though the sun was coming right through them. Then one leaf fell down kind of slowly, twirling in the sun.
I ran to catch it - and I did catch it. Henry saw me and we both started laughing (it wasn't funny, we were just happy). Then another leaf twirled down, slowly - it was yellow, too. We both ran for it and I wished everything could stay just as it was at that moment forever and ever .That it could always be this sunny fall day and Henry and I could always be in it together.
bookstores with this cover:
Which cover do you like better? (I didn't get to choose either!)
Blow Out the Moon (former title There and Back Again) copyright © 1999, 2000 Libby Koponen. All rights reserved. The pictures of ocean liners are from the collection of Kevin R. Tam. Used with permission.