Disappearing Act

Marty is having a hard time keeping track of his homework and his home life ever since his parents split.

Marty hates when he doesn’t know the answers in math class.

I know the drill. Come in to math class. Sit at your desk. Get out your homework. Do the daily practice problem. Check the homework together. Listen to Miss Briggs yammer about equations. Wait to be humiliated playing our math-facts game, Around-the-Block. Try to disappear. Pray for the bell. Wish you were dead.

We repeated this almost every day. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I got to the wishing I was dead part extra early since I hardly ever had my homework on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I was lucky if I found my sneakers on those days, since those were the days after the nights I spent with Dad.

It was really fun going to Dad’s place. He had the best cds, and he let me pick cool jazz to listen to while we cooked and ate dinner. Sometimes we even ate and watched tv. Mom never let me do that. But, Dad’s place was different. He let me tape posters to the walls of my room, and we called it my room even though I was only there two nights a week and every other weekend. And he didn’t make me clean. My room, I mean, since he said I wasn’t there that much and he didn’t want us to spend our little bit of time together doing stuff like that. So we pretty much had fun and hung out. And, usually, to get it over with, I did my homework right after dinner, hunched over my books on my bed, while dad did the dishes. Problem was, the homework didn’t always make it to school. Mornings were always rushed, and I’d gulp down the eggs and toast that Dad fixed and we’d rush out the door to get me to school on time before Dad headed off to work.

Sometimes I’d find my homework when I went back for my next visit, crumpled under the bed or hidden in the bottom of my other backpack. But that was always too late for Miss Briggs.

So, here I am, scrounging through my folders looking for the math homework that I know I won’t find. Miss Briggs glares at me over the top of those funny little glasses she wears on the end of her nose. I look back at her. And wish I could disappear.