Math problem solved

“You are dreaming again,” shaking her head, Charlotte darts a disapproving look my way, blue-checkered kitchen towel in hand.

I am watching the bird fight in the bird house outside our window, hoping my math problem is solving itself.  Some redstarts are fiercely defending their lunch, fighting off an audacious sparrow. Birdseed flying all over and landing in the snowy ground. The observant, sly magpie quickly dives down from her branch and picks the biggest seeds for herself. Triumphant.

“You are…”

Slowly turning to Charlotte, I roll my eyes, glance back at the pages before me. The small kitchen table is covered with books and quad-ruled papers. I get fidgety on my small, red bench. She slaps the kitchen towel over the sink and abandons her half-washed dishes.

“If only you’d stop dreaming…” she omits the rest. We both know how it ends. She nudges me aside, hovers over the bench’s edge. Holding onto the table she contorts her head to get a closer look at the numbers I’d written. Sighs.

I sigh back, my head resting in my right hand.

“Take your pen, this is easy,” says the math wizard.

Sigh. Math should wait for tomorrow. Today, the snow is calling, and my father’s wooden sleigh with its little antique bell attached is ready. Who needs dry math when mountains of snow can round off today’s edges.

Charlotte explains with elaborate gestures, head nodding, her pen rushing over the ripped off pages. “You see, easy.”

“No.”

A thrush decides to simply pick the seeds at the walkway’s snow edge. The others stop fighting, their necks turning towards the newcomer’s hasty busyness. I smile at them. The pen she shoved into my hand keeps dangling.

One look.

She slams the book, “we’ll do it tomorrow.”

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