Once Kasey had regained her composure, she was in a slightly better mood. Susie had since gotten up and was interrogating Calvin about his condition. All the reassurances Calvin gave to Susie were for naught. She kept asking if he needed anything.
"See," Hobbes commented, "Your mom is scared. She's going to keep acting like this until you and your dad help her work through it."
Kasey crossed her arms. "I still don't get why a strong person like Mom would be so freaked out over something like this. It seems kind of silly."
"Kasey, when will you learn that your dad getting into a car accident is not a little thing? It's a big deal. Yes, it's true that he's not in critical condition or anything, but your mom is worried that it'll happen again. Moms do that kind of stuff. They think of the worst case scenario and try their best not to let it happen."
"Like how she always reminds me to look both ways before crossing the street even though I always remember?"
"Right! Exactly. Your mom doesn't want you to get hurt. Sometimes she overdoes it a little. But it's only because she loves you." Hobbes crossed his arms. "That reminds me…have you told your mom what I told you to tell her?"
Kasey lowered her eyes. "No…not yet."
"You need to tell her soon. Especially when she's worried like this."
"I tried to, Hobbes! It's too weird to tell her something like that."
"It shouldn't be. You should be telling her this way more often."
"Whatever. I don't even see how it will help. What if she starts crying again? It makes me so uncomfortable when she cries in front of me."
"Well if you actually showed your feelings in front of each other, then you wouldn't be so awkward!"
Kasey opened her mouth to retort, but sighed instead. "I don't want to fight again. I said horrible things when you tried to hug me. I'm really sorry." She sat back down on her bed, and Hobbes sat next to her.
"It's ok. I know you didn't mean it. You were just angry. You've been under a lot of stress."
"Why don't you go out and say hi to your dad again? And this time stay out there for a while."
Kasey sighed. "Oh all right." She trudged down the hallway, now clearly understanding what Susie was saying to her dad.
"Calvin, please be reasonable. You can't go back to work with a broken leg, it's ridiculous!"
"Honey, I'll be fine. I work in an office. I'll manage."
"No, I can't let you! I really don't think it's a good idea."
Calvin sighed. If he didn't compromise, then she'd never let it go. "Fine, how about I stay home for a couple weeks and then we'll see if I'm ready to go to work. But I have to work from home at least a little bit. Sound good?"
"I…I guess it'll have to do." Susie sounded disappointed.
"Hey, there's my girl!" Calvin said excitedly as Kasey appeared.
Kasey was nervous again. She never thought she'd feel nervous around her own parents. She sat down next to Susie. What could she possibly say? There was nothing to be said.
"Do you feel like going to school tomorrow?" Susie inquired.
She hadn't thought about what she would say to her friends yet. "Um…I guess. Yeah, I kinda want to go back to school again."
"Well…we'll wait and see how you feel tomorrow."
Feel. Hobbes had told her to start showing how she really felt from now on. But the problem was that Kasey didn't know. Everything was all mixed up in her head. Kasey was still convinced she could understand the situation as well as the adults around her. But that wasn't the case at all. Still, she was too stubborn to ask her dad why he got into accident. She was under the impression that only poor drivers got into wrecks, and Calvin was the best driver she knew.
"Hey, where are you going?" Calvin asked.
"I don't know. To my room, I guess," she replied glumly.
"Why don't you stay out here for a while. How's school going?" Calvin inquired.
"Calvin," Susie interjected, "Kasey hasn't gone to school since the car accident."
"Yes. But Janey picked up her homework when she went to go get you, and she's been working thorugh it. Right, Kasey?"
"Uh...yeah." That wasn't true. In fact, Kasey hadn't thought about her homework until Susie had brought it up. But it was fine. Homework came easy to Kasey, a trait she had developed from her mother.
"It's ok if you haven't done any yet. You've had a rough week," Calvin said. He looked quite concerned.
"It's fine," Kasey replied, "I'll finish it today." She was still standing, and waited for Calvin to add something to the conversation. If he didn't, she could quietly sneak off to her room.
"Well...you might want to get started on it." Calvin ended up saying.
"Ok." Kasey left.
Hobbes was surprised by her arrival. "I thought I told you to stay out there."
"Yeah, I did. There was nothing to talk about. Hobbes, sometimes grown-ups aren't as interesting as you think."
"They're plenty interesting. They just don't like to talk about stuff with kids in the room."
Kasey was becoming grumpy over Hobbes' always being right. She sat down and looked at the homework Susie had put in her room while she was sleeping. After working through three math problems, her head ached again. The numbers swirled around the page, making her feel sick.
Hobbes noticed. "Maybe you should stop doing homework for a while."
"No, no. I really should get this done before-" Hobbes wouldn't let her finish. She let him drag her back to her bed.
"Good. At least you're letting me help you this time," Hobbes commented, "Sit."
Kasey sat. "What? What do I have to do now?"
"Talk to your dad."
Hobbes threw up his paws. "What do you think? About the accident! You don't know anything about it. It's important."
"Whatever. It totally isn't."
"You're sounding like your old self again. Start acting your age."
"You know, usually when grown-ups tell me to do that, they're asking me to act older, not younger."
"True. But you're different than other kids. Your dad is the same way."
"In what sense am I different?"
Hobbes smiled. "There. Right there! You talk more maturely than kids your age. Your imagination overflows so much so I can exist. If you worked at it a little, you could potentially think as deeply as Aristotle. You're pretty special. You have the mind of an adult, but the emotions of a kid, like you're supposed to. Kasey, kids your age are supposed to get upset over things that adults don't. Kids are supposed to have heightened emotions sometimes. When will you realize that this is all normal?"
Kasey smiled a little. "I don't know," she mumbled, "I guess I never thought of it that way."
"I know you can think harder than this Kasey. You just have to come to terms with the fact that you're still a kid."
She frowned again. "But I don't want to be kid."
"Kids never know what they're doing. Kids make mistakes. Adults never take them seriously. Adults know everything. Kids are stupid."
Hobbes crossed his arms. "You realize that adults make mistakes too, right? Adults are stupid sometimes too. They don't know everything. I'll prove it to you. Go ask your dad why he was in a car accident. It was adult stupidity, I'm sure."
"I've already been out there twice! I'm supposed to be doing homework anyway."
"Fine," Hobbes said, exasperated, "You win for today. Do what you want. But this progress has to continue. Because I'm sure you're going to school on Monday."
As if on cue, Susie walked in. "Mariah is on the phone again. Do you want to talk to her?"
Kasey still had no idea how she was going to tell her friends something like this. They never talked about anything serious. It didn't seem right. Recess was for talking about that boy she had a crush on, or a new diet she was trying, or…wait.
Mariah never asked about Kasey. Never at all. Hobbes only asked about her because he was worried. Calvin and Susie both were incessantly asking about her well-being. Why didn't Mariah? Kasey thought they were friends. But she never asked about Mariah either.
"No, Mom. Not right now," Kasey replied, "I'll talk to her later." Susie left. She turned to Hobbes.
"I think I need to reevaluate my friendships. Mariah never asks how I'm doing or anything. And I never ask about her. I think I should become friends with her. Real friends."
"I like the sound of that," Hobbes said, and grinned, "Now get back to work while I read comic books!"