Adam wasn’t sure he liked preschool. He was one of the smallest kids in the class, even compared to the rest of the children.
And, on top of that, there was Lowry.
Lowry was several months older, and he knew he was big for his age. On top of that, he came from a house of big, loud older siblings who pushed and demanded. Those habits had been passed down to Lowry.
Now that he was one of the bigger kids in preschool, the big, pushy demeanor carried over to bullying. If he saw something he wanted, he was going to get it.
Adam, smallest kid in the class, had been his favorite target for the better part of a month and a half. Hard as he tried to stay away from Lowry, Lowry made it a point to hunt him down.
Today’s tactic was to sit inside instead of going outside at recess and color. He’d gotten most of the way through his coloring page when a shadow shifted. Fully expecting Lowry, Adam looked up, hoping he looked meek and pathetic enough that maybe Lowry would go away in a few minutes.
Instead, her brunette hair in pigtails and a bright pink jacket on over her bunny-rabbit shirt, was a girl he didn’t think belonged in his class. She certainly hadn’t been in it this morning. Or yesterday.
“Hi! I’m Sadie. Can I sit here?”
“Sure,” he said and Sadie grinned as she sat down.
“What’s your name?”
“That’s a nice name. What are you coloring?”
Meekly, he showed her, expecting her to mock it, or take his crayons. Instead, Sadie grinned. “That’s really neat. I have hard time staying in the lines.”
“Oh that’s easy, see, I just start my drawing on the lines and go inside.” He showed her and Sadie watched.
“I should try that!”
Delighted as she selected her own coloring page and contemplating the available crayons, Adam returned to his picture. She might be noisy like Lowry, but that was about it.
“Are you new?”
“Yep! Daddy and I just moved here from Arizona.”
“It’s a long way away. We drove for hours with Uncle Marshall to get here. I fell asleep though. Driving for that long is too boring.”
“Sometimes when we have to be in the car for a while my Mom plays the license plate game with me,” Adam said.
“Hey. Adam’s got friend.”
Quizzical, Sadie turned around and Adam shrank back as Lowry approached. He was missing one of his lower right teeth, having fallen out two days ago. Adam remembered because Lowry had shoved the tiny treasure box with its bloody contents in his face when it had happened.
“Oh! I’m Sadie.” She waved at Lowry. “Who are you?”
Lowry only laughed. “I’m the kid you’re going to share your snack with.”
That bright smile faded, replaced instead by a wrinkled nose and a frown. “But I don’t want to share it with you.”
“But I want you too. Since Adam didn’t have a good snack yesterday. Just plain crackers.”
His favorite crackers, actually, but Lowry hadn’t cared.
Sadie however, stood up. “Do you not get snack from home?”
“Of course I get snack,” Lowry said. “But I want yours.”
“I can trade you.”
“No. I want your snack.”
Sadie contemplated it. “You’re not very nice,” she said. “And I’m not giving you my snack. Daddy got me green grapes especially because those are my favorite.”
“Then Daddy can pack you extra tomorrow,” Lowry said and pushed Sadie.
It wasn’t a hard push, but it startled her enough into falling over. Adam shrank back, certain Lowry would turn his attention to his favorite target now.
Instead, an ear-piercing scream and the sound of crying drew the attention of the teacher and one of the aides.
Through the massive tears falling down Sadie’s face she pointed at Lowry. “He pushed me! I don’t want to share my snack with him.”
“I did not,” Lowry denied.
“Adam?” The teacher knelt while Sadie used her sleeves to scrub at her face. “What happened?”
His heart nearly stopped and he glanced at Lowry. “He…He told Sadie to give him his snack and when she said she didn’t want to he pushed her down.”
“He’s a liar! Miss Bridgette, they’re both liars!”
“I think we’re going to have to check the camera. Come on, Sadie. Thank you, Adam.”
Adam watched in mute horror while Sadie stood up, still sniffing a little. Miss Bridgette, their teacher, handed her a tissue and Sadie used that to wipe her nose while Lowry glowered. Adam kept watching as they went to the teacher’s desk. He knew when the tape had been pulled up because Lowry started shouting he was going to tell his dad.
Two slips were drawn up—Pink, for Lowry for a misbehavior and blue for Sadie, for an incident. Both slips were put up and Lowry was sent to the timeout chair while Sadie was allowed to come back over.
“You’re not hurt, are you?” Adam asked when she plopped down. Sadie shook her head.
“No, but I don’t like him.” She considered it and grinned as she looked at Adam. “Do you like grapes?”
“Yeah. I love grapes. I have crackers again today though.”
“I’ll trade you some of my grapes for some of your crackers!”
Loud, Adam decided, wasn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it meant a bully coming to steal his crackers.
And other times, it meant he had a pig-tailed hero to come help him.
by A.J. Helms