Chapter 6: Tutor
As soon as Mike’s mother heard those words, she gasped.
“Is this true?” cried Bradley’s mom, looking disgustedly at her son.
“It is,” informed Ms. Charles. “Why don’t you tell us what else happened, Mike?” Mike could not bear it anymore as he looked up at the smiling giant. He remained silent. So Ms. Charles continued.
As Ms. Charles explained what had happened during lunch, Mike looked at Cindy. He didn’t need to hear what Ms. Charles was saying; she was probably lying anyway. As she went on about the afternoon, Mike mouthed the words Why are you here? to Cindy. He wasn’t sure if she was able to identify his lip movements since she didn’t respond.
After the principal finished, she asked Bradley, “What’s your side of the story?” Mike looked at Bradley; he looked like he was on the verge of tears and his parents looked like they wanted to hurt Bradley in all the ways he had hurt Mike. Bradley didn’t know what to say. In the end he said, “I felt stupid that I didn’t have any friends so I thought that if I bullied kids I’d get friends.”
“But now you’ve learned your lesson, right honey?” asked his mother hopefully.
Bradley nodded. His mother sighed with relief. “Well, we’re happy you won’t do it again. Right, honey?” asked his mother nudging Bradley’s father. His father nodded obediently like a dog in fear of being kicked if he didn’t obey. Bradley smiled. Mike couldn’t believe what was happening. His mother was so gullible. Mike wondered if Bradley’s father, had he spoken out, would have shared a different opinion than his wife’s. To Mike, it seemed he didn’t have a choice as if he married her in fear. Bradley glared at Mike. It was the glare of pain that seemed to communicate: I always win, Mike.
Since Bradley or Mike hadn’t said anything more, the meeting ended. Bradley and his parents got up to leave and Mike and his mother followed when Ms. Charles stopped them. She said she had something else to discuss with Mike and his mother and she gladly shoed the Brocks away as if they were dirty flies on her wall.
Once the Brocks were gone, Ms. Charles said, “As you already know, Mike is failing English…”
This isn’t good, thought Mike.
Two bad things were happening in one day. His mother had already talked to him about this subject and said that she would not allow his marks to decrease any further. She told him that in order for him to succeed, he would need a tutor to help him along the rickety road. Right after their little talk, Mike’s mother picked up the phone and dialled some number. When she hung up, Mike curiously asked her who it was but her reply had been that she had called someone at her work.
“So since you called us Mrs. Roberts, we have assigned Mike with a tutor.”
So that was what the call was about; his mother wasn’t calling someone about her work, she had asked the school to find a tutor. What was so secret about that? “The tutor, Mike, that you and your mother have assigned to you is a student from your class: Cindy Welkey.”
What?! Mike couldn’t believe it. Sure, he thought he was in love with Cindy but he wasn’t sure that he wanted her visiting his house. It would be very awkward for both of them. Still, he was kind of happy that she was going to tutor him. He hoped that maybe when she tutored him, she would see the wonderful and charming side of him. He decided that even though he was weary of Cindy’s tutoring, he wouldn’t decline the offer.
Once this was established, Ms. Charles told Mike and his mother the schedule. “She will tutor Mike Mondays and Wednesdays for an hour. After a week of this, Mrs. Roberts, please ask Ms. Rond, his English teacher, if he’s improving. I hope that the tutoring will really boost his grades and that assigning a student will save money.”
“Well, this is very generous of you,” Mike’s mother complemented Cindy.
“I just feel that every kid at Barkley should be the same in intelligence,” Cindy said beaming at them with a bright toothy smile.
“That was nice of Cindy to do that wasn’t it?” asked Mike’s mother as she stopped at a red light. They had now left Barkley and were driving home. Mike nodded in approval. Mike’s mother had no idea of his nervousness.
She doesn’t want to see me, she’s just helping me so she can get money, Mike thought. Therefore, it seemed that the only thing that Mike was going to get out of this whole situation was knowledge.
When they arrived home, Mike’s father asked, “So, how did the meeting go?” He was washing the dishes from their dinner.
“O.K.,” replied Mike trying to cover his nervousness over the running faucet.
“Mike is going to be tutored by a fellow student,” said his mother cheerfully.
“Is that what the meeting was about?” asked Mike’s father as he kept scrubbing the pot in his hand.
Oh no! thought Mike. Now his mother was going to talk about the bullying! Nervousness soon changed to edginess and panic.
“Yes,” said his mother.
Thank you mom, Mike mouthed. Mike’s mother winked at him.
“So what subject is Mike failing?” asked Mike’s father as he turned off the faucet.
“And how much do we have to pay this student?”
“The principal didn’t mention her pay so I’m not sure we have to pay her. Still, I think ten dollars will suffice.”
“What? I feel that she’s going to be trying so hard to help Mike that she deserves a little something.”
“Alright. So do we know how many hours we’re paying her and what days?”
“Mondays and Wednesdays.”
Mike’s father smacked his son on the back. “Looks like we won’t have a failure after all.”
“Jim.” Now it was Mike’s mother’s turn to sigh.
Mike smiled at both of them. All he wanted to do was go to bed and hope that this tutoring would not become a disaster.