My eight-year-old student tells me that she's moving to England next year, but that she'll be moving back for school the year after. She fails to mention that her parents are getting divorced.
I'm not sure if she knows, but I'm thinking she has to suspect something. Divorce doesn't often come without signs and trauma of some sort. Screaming fights, chilling silence, frightening absences, something to indicate that all is not well in Pleasantville.
I love this girl; she is imaginative, sincere, sweet, a regular cupcake in the world of tutoring. I couldn't ask for a better student. Except...she has a tendency to make things up so I can never quite gauge the truth about whether she did ALL her reading, or why the vocab cards are tossed over the ledge, which is not surprising given that her years of living are still in single digit range.
Some of her lies are great:
"I see fairies in my country home. Real life fairies."
"A lot of boys like me at school. Here are some cards...Rosanna and April, those are boy names."
"My brother's girlfriend makes edible jewelry, all out of gummy candy....No, it doesn't melt because she smushes them to make them hard."
There are so many more. I have to resist the urge to laugh.
I wasn't laughing, though, when she described her upcoming move as "fun, no big deal" because I know her abilities for myth-making, and stretching her reality to fit her needs.
Today, I took her to the park to meet Adele after the tutoring session. I care for both these girls in very different ways while realizing that they have such contrasting lives. Stella, comes from a family of money that coats just about everything they touch, a family that can provide her with every material happiness imaginable. Adele will, most likely, never have such a luxury, but she will be loved in a secure home with endless attention from her parents.
Only in New York City can two completely different girls meet and play for an afternoon in Central Park.
I wish Stella the best and will sorely miss her.
This afternoon, she asked, 'What's the meaning of your daughter's name?'
'Pretty. My name means star.'
'Very pretty too.'
'They go together!' she yells. 'Starlight.'
With that, I smiled at her and squeezed her hand.