If you ask me, turning my mom loose in a chemistry lab sounds like a recipe for disaster. Mr. Walker must have thought so, too, because he left a nice, safe film for the class to watch. Leave it to Mom to go him one better.
“What’s a movie without popcorn?” she asked the class. After instructing everyone to light their Bunsen burners, she passed out packages of popcorn?you know, the kind in a long-handled foil pan that blows up like a balloon as the kernels pop.
“This is so lame,” I muttered. Not that I had to worry about Mom hearing me. The noise from all that popping corn was so loud that the teacher next door had already pounded on the wall twice.
“I think it’s fun,” Rachel said, tossing a fluffy piece of popcorn into the air and catching it in her mouth.
Apparently Mom thought so, too. In fact, she was having such a good time that it seemed almost a shame to discourage her. Still, there was a reputation at stake here?mine. And so when the final bell rang, I gave Rachel an encouraging nudge in Mom’s direction.
“I’ll wait for you in the hall,” I whispered. “Good luck!”
At first I couldn’t hear anything over the sound of 30 students stampeding for the door, but gradually the noise died down, and I could pick out a few of Rachel’s muffled words.
“She wants me to ? I know she doesn’t mean to ? But I don’t know how to break the news ? ”
I felt a little twinge of guilt. I didn’t want to hurt Mom’s feelings, and I hadn’t realized what an awkward position I’d put Rachel in. Mom said something I couldn’t understand, then Rachel spoke again.
” ? embarrassing her. She’s completely hung up on appearances.”
What?!? All those guilty feelings vanished, driven away by anger. How dare Rachel make me out to be the bad guy? By the time I heard her footsteps approaching the door, steam was practically coming out my ears.
But before I had a chance to say anything, Rachel said, “Oh, Heather, you were right!” Her face practically glowed. “Your mother says Mom will listen to me if I just tell her how I feel without going ballistic. And I’m really going to try. I do love Mom, even though we’re so different.”
“You mean you were talking about your mother in there? I thought you were going to talk to her about my mother and her constant subbing!”
“Well, I meant to but ? ” Rachel said. “Heather, I really just wanted to talk to her about my mom?you know, about her wanting to give me that makeover when all I really wanted for my birthday was a week at basketball camp. That’s what I love about your mom, Heather. She’s so easy to talk to.”