AN: Well, dang, it's been a while. Okay, so I can't properly thank people on account I don't have all my old emails, but the support is as appreciated as ever!
This drabble initially began as something totally different but then I remembered that The Giggling Gummy Bear had asked me for something more specific regarding these characters back in September and I enjoyed going back into TCBS/TSCO narrative for a bit after such an excruciating hiatus. And it's finally from the POV I've been wanting to do for a while...
I sit, bored, looking out the window. I gnaw on my pencil, lick the eraser and the funny taste makes me bunch up my face. I sigh.
"Hyacinth, is there something you should be doing?"
I turn to face my teacher, "Yes, ma'am."
"Then you should get to it," she tells me.
I nod. Wait for her to look down. Stick out my tongue.
"Mrs. Larson! Hyacinth stuck out his tongue!"
I look at the jerk that ratted me out, my legs pushing me from my chair, "No, I didn't!"
Mrs. Larson looks up, staring at me. "Hyacinth, I am not going to ask you again—do your work." She gets up and walks over to the whiteboard to write my name, "I'm just going to have to keep in from recess today."
I groan. The class makes a long 'ooh' sound at my punishment. They shut up when Mrs. Larson looks at them. She's not that scary. She's just really tall and her eyes are kind of black. They're just a bunch of babies.
I focus on my work, practicing the cursive worksheets. Again. I follow the dotted lines, pressing my pencil in. I like it when the writing is dark and it stands out on the white, my name popping out at me. I look up at my teacher and see she's reading.
Turning my paper over, I start drawing a circle. I remember that Mrs. Larson doesn't like it when we scribble on our worksheets. I blow out air through my nose and put my head on my arms. I already did this dumb thing enough today. I get my pencil and chew on it, wanting to get up. My knee twitches. I scratch it.
Looking at the clock, I see that it'll be another five more minutes until it's time for recess. Sixty seconds in a minute. Get one sixty, add another, which equals one hundred and twenty. Add another: one hundred and eighty. There's two sixties left, so that's one hundred and twenty. I add the remainder to one hundred and eighty…should be three hundred.
Three hundred seconds.
I look at the clock. I managed to get rid of sixty seconds already.
This is taking forever…
Staring at my worksheet, I pick up my pencil, not liking the taste anymore and decide to finish my circle. I don't like it not finished. And I'm in trouble already anyway.
I've done seven more circles. I like that they're looking better as I practice. Uncle Gale says that's the only way I'll get any good.
"Alright, class, time for recess,"
The others rush up past me and I feel air as they whiz by, whoosh! I get up all excited, wanting to get on the swing first—
"Hyacinth Everdeen," Mrs. Larson shouts, "You get back to your desk. You are not playing right now."
I know better than to argue and walk slowly back to my desk. I pick up my paper and give it to Mrs. Larson. She takes it, staring at it, then me.
"You drew on it again,"
"I know. I got bored." I tell her.
She gives me this really funny look, her eyes getting smaller and she almost looks like she wants to smile but I think I'm not seeing it right. She pulls out a piece of paper. "I want you to write down twenty times that you will not perform such inexcusable behavior that way again."
"Do I have to use those words precisely? They sound big and complicated."
She gives me that strange look again. "Just write, 'I won't stick out my tongue and I'll behave in class' for me."
Taking the paper, I walk back to my desk. It's not too bad since the sentence is long and it makes my fingers ache a bit. But after line number three, I know what to do. I finish soon, ending my last 'class' with a little more loop at the end of the 's' than usual. It looks cool and reminds me of snakes that I see in the books I read.
I still got a couple minutes before the class comes back. I'm done so I look at the window again. Birds fly over the window and one sits nearby. I stare at its feathers and I wonder how it feels to fly. My mama loves birds and she sings pretty songs that get them to join. She's like a princess in those old stories I sometimes read when I got nothing else to do. I wish I was home already.
The bell rings. My peers are loud and thumping on the floor. Their noise hurts my ears. I give them an aggravated stare, crossing my arms. Do all kids have to be so unruly? Mrs. Larson sometimes calls us that and I wonder if she's right.
"Alright, class, settle down!" Mrs. Larson shouts, clapping her hands. Everyone shuts up. "I hope you all know who to bring for Parent Appreciation Day next week, beginning Monday."
Everyone starts talking to each other. I just sit quietly, lower my head, and my desk is the only thing I feel okay with looking at.
I'm pushed at my shoulder. I turn to stare at them hard.
"Sorry, Cynth," says Gina, smiling.
"It's okay," I say, "And it's Hyacinth,"
Gina tells me, "Hyacinth, who are you bringing?"
"I don't know yet,"
"Why not?" asks Lionel. He always seems to come from no place. Makes me all sweaty not knowing where people are gonna show up.
"Because I don't know yet," It's none of their business. And I was talking to Gina.
"I'm bringing my dad," Lionel tells Gina and me.
I get my things, put them in my backpack.
"So why don't you know?" Gina asks me again. I wish she'd shut up.
"Leave me alone. I don't know."
Lionel smiles this smile that makes me want to punch him, "All he has is his mom,"
Gina turns to me, "Nuh-uh! You got a dad, right? He's tall, dark hair and stuff."
I get up and ignore them, walking outside and head for home. It's not far away. And I get tired of hearing people that make me angry.
I see home so I run, crashing through the door. I make a loud squeaking noise on the floor with my shoes.
"Hyacinth, welcome home!"
I turn fast and hug Aunt Prim. "Hi! Where's Mama?"
She pats my head, "She's upstairs sleeping,"
"You have a good day?"
She looks at me with that quiet face she does when she looks unhappy with an answer. "Didn't turn out so well today, huh?"
"Kids are stupid,"
She laughs, "You're a kid, too, silly,"
"I'm not a kid. I'm five now."
"I know, love," she kisses my head. She doesn't talk anymore about it, which makes me in a better mood. I sit down and she gives me a glass of chocolate milk. I slurp it up. It tastes really good since I'm thirsty. I look at the stairs when I hear a creaking noise.
I jump and go into her arms really fast and snuggle and she turns me around in her arms, whee! She smells good, like those lilies Aunt Prim takes care of. I smack a kiss on her cheek.
"Hello sweetheart," She says, voice low and raspy-like. Probably from sleeping. She puts me down but I don't mind. Mama's really skinny so I worry sometimes if I'm so heavy I'll break her. It hasn't happened which is good. I had a nightmare like that once and it was so scary.
"Any homework for the weekend?"
"No," I shake my head, "But on Monday there's this thing where parents have to come,"
Mama and Aunt Prim give each other a long look. Aunt Prim gets closer to me on her knees. "What do you mean?"
"I'm not in trouble!" I shout.
"No one said you were Hyacinth," Mama tells me, touching my shoulder. "But we just don't know what you mean. Like a parent-teacher conference?"
"Kind of," I say, "I just have to bring my parents. Everyone's parents are supposed to."
"To do what?"
I blow air into my cheeks, tired of explaining, "I dunno. Talk about their dumb jobs and stuff,"
"Ah…" Mama says, "You mean a Parent Appreciation Day,"
"Yeah!" I'm happy she knows but…now I'm not happy she knows.
"I don't even remember us having to do that," Aunt Prim tells Mama.
"Well, that was back in District 12, where most people had the same kind of work. So it was rather cumbersome."
A new word. "What does 'cumbersome' mean?"
"It means it would've been too much trouble."
"Parent Appreciation Day is a trouble?"
Mama just stares at me a bit then smiles. "It depends on how you look at it."
I nod. "So since it's trouble, we don't have to do it?"
Aunt Prim speaks, "Do you not want to go?"
They're both really quiet. I play with my shirt, pulling at a loose string. Mama puts her hand on mine.
"Did something happen at school?"
"No," My voice is loud.
"Sweetie, you can tell me,"
I cross my arms. Look down. I don't wanna talk about it. I talk enough already and it's cumbersome.
Mama sighs, "This sounds like an important assignment…"
I keep my mouth shut tight. Bad idea—teeth hurt.
Aunt Prim says Excuse me and goes upstairs. Mama kneels on her knees to look at my face but I don't want to look at hers right now, even if I know she's the prettiest in the whole world and I haven't seen Mama all week.
"You can always take—"
"They're not my mom and dad, Mama," I tell her, "It has to be my real parents,"
Mama gets that blank look on her face and my heartbeat goes superfast—thump thump thump—and I'm scared 'cause when she looks like that she looks dead.
Mama smiles and I breathe out. My heart goes 'ssh' but I stare to make sure my eyes aren't playing games.
"It was just a suggestion Songbird."
She gets up and goes to the kitchen to make us dinner. I know Mama doesn't like talking about it. We all love Uncle Gale and Aunt Madge but they don't count. It's in the rules: bring your parents. I don't say it again since I want Mama to not go all quiet. It's creepy and she gets those blank looks a lot.
I remember my real dad who is in the hospital. I say nothing about him too.