Chapter 31 - A Good Punch Helps Everything
Darla was in the principal’s office again. She had just turned eleven years old the week before and she again just punched another boy in the nose and made his nose bleed. That wasn’t the worst thing that happened to the boy. She also had made him cry in front of everyone. It is not a good thing when a young girl punches a boy and makes him cry and cry in front of all his friends and classmates. This was the third boy Darla had punched in the last two months.
“Why are we here Darla?” Principal Donna Pennington asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Because boys are stupid, that’s why,” Darla said very directly.
“Well between you and me, that’s usually a given but can you please tell me who and why did you punch this certain boy, this time?” Principal Pennington asked.
“That Timmy whatever kid, you know him. The one that picks his nose all the time. You know, the one that pushes around the some of the other boys and acts like he is all tough and all. He then went and pulled my hair. I told him to stop pulling my hair. Well do you think he stopped? No, of course he didn’t. He then pulled my hair again after I clearly told him not to pull my hair again or else. So, it was a simple decision. I punched him in his face. He got the ‘or else’ of my warning. End of story. The good news Principal Pennington is that boy will never, ever pull my hair again I assure you.” Darla said confidently.
“Oh, I am sure he won’t Darla, but you can’t go punching all your problems away.” Principal Pennington said firmly as any good teacher and now principal would say to a young impressionable mind.
“Yes, ma’am I do realize that but I did punch that problem with the hair pulling away with Timmy. He is a bully to all the boys and I don’t like bullies. I guess he thought he would pull that crap on me. He was wrong in thinking that.”
“Yes, Darla, yes you did punch that problem away but you need to stop punching helpless boys.” Principal Pennington said almost begging for her to accept what she is saying.
“Now that’s the truest statement if I ever heard one. He sure looked helpless after I punched his nose. I wish you could have seen it,” Darla said proudly.
“Please stop talking like an adult and as you already have all this figured out. You are a kid so you act like one,” Principal Pennington said with a smirk.
Principal Pennington continued, “So I have to ask you one question Darla Lang.”
“Ask away Principal!” Darla answered ready for anything to be thrown her way.
“How did it feel punching that little shit in the nose?” Principal Pennington asked with a smirk.
“Well” Darla paused for a few seconds and thought back through what she had done. “It felt good. Like, really, really good!”
Principal Pennington sat back in her chair and touched her chin thinking about that moment and replied, “Well I bet it did Darla. I just wish I could have seen it. Just please don’t do it again to him.”
“Oh, I won’t as long as he stays away from me and my hair. I promise.” Darla said with a smirk.
Principal Pennington laughed and Darla laughed too.
What most didn’t know was that Principal Pennington had gotten to know and care for Darla extremely well since Darla’s father left her and her mother several years before. She had known Darla’s mom now for many years and had always disliked Darla’s dad before he left them both. She looked to Darla as a daughter ever since she had lost her own daughter that was eleven years old. Three years before, her daughter, Dee Dee, had been helping her father, Donna’s husband, out on the farm and had gotten her arm hung in a hay baler. Before her dad could get the hay baler shut down it had almost tore her arm completely off.
Dee Dee bled to death right there in the field with her dad holding her. He carried her over a half a mile back to the house but it was too late. She had bled to death and the Pennington’s were never the same again. He ended up leaving Donna and Donna had thrown herself into her work and made Principal a year ago.
“Darla Lang, you know I am going to have to give your mama a detailed call about what happened here today with you punching that boy?” Principal Pennington said shaking her head.
Darla replied, “Yes ma’am, I know you will need to do that but please just try to break it to her easy. She has a lot on her plate right now and seems more stressed than usual lately. Yesterday afternoon, I heard her on the phone with the bank when I got home from school as she has been on the phone with them almost every afternoon this week. I think they are going to take our car or something. I don’t know, but whatever it is, it must be getting to mom pretty bad. She was crying last night in her bedroom with the door closed but wasn’t even talking to anyone on the phone. She doesn’t think I can hear her, but I do.”
“Oh my, I am so sorry and I hate to hear that is happening. Life can be very hard sometimes Darla. As my father used to tell me as a child, we all are either picking the grapes or
drinking the wine and it sounds like right now, your mama is going through a lot of picking the grapes. You know what Darla? Let’s just keep this misunderstanding that took place today between us for now. Your mother has gone through too much and if you can go a month without punching another boy, this stays between us. Oh, but you are going to have in school suspension tomorrow and will be assigned to me. I have a lot of filing that needs to get done and you can take care of that chore for me.” Principal Pennington said in a tone to let her know she is all hers tomorrow.
“What? And miss out on the special recital tomorrow by the chorus group? No, PLEASE, don’t do it to me Principal Pennington! PLEASE!!” Darla said laughing.
They both had a good laugh. Darla loved spending time with Donna and could talk to her like she used to be able to talk to her mom before the divorce.
“Now young lady, let’s get our game faces on. I want to see the ‘you just got in big trouble from the Principal’ look written across your face before you leave this office and go back to class.”
“Yes ma’am, how about this?” Darla tried to look as sad as she could create from not really getting in trouble again like she never really got in trouble from Principal Pennington.
Principal Pennington replied, “That’s pretty good Darla Lang! Now you go and stay away from those boys noses. That’s an order!”
“I promise, well, I promise for at least one month.” Darla replied and smiled big.
They both had a good laugh again and Darla then stood, walked to the door leading out of the Principal’s office, slowly looked back to Principal Pennington and they locked eyes. Principal Pennington smiled, Darla smiled, and then put on her saddest face she could create and opened the door and left the office.
As Darla left, Donna thought to herself that there was just something special about that young lady. She looked at things differently, and in such a mature way, well besides punching all the boys in the nose, but that was understood. She had a so called 6th sense or something about her that Donna just couldn’t explain. She knew she loved her like a daughter and that was all that mattered. She missed her little girl so much and her husband and the family she had before the accident.
Now if Darla would just stop punching all those boys there would be one less issue to need to deal with.
Principal Pennington’s thoughts were soon interrupted by her assistant…
“Excuse me Principal Pennington, Timmy’s mom is on line two and she is not happy.”
Of course she isn’t thought Donna.