Children Fiction posted June 8, 2010 Chapters:  ...23 24 -25- 

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Tanisha's letter to Walter

A chapter in the book Ms. N.O.R.T.


by Deejharrington

Tanisha is a young girl who has lost her favorite teacher and gained a new friend, Walter. He is a refugee from Katrina. Together they battle three bullies. They both begin new lives.
Chapter Twenty-five: "Tanisha"

It had been two months since Walter had left for his new home in California. In Tanisha's mind, it seemed like yesterday but much had changed.She shared all the news in letters to him.

Hey Walt,
What's up? Or hanging? Isn't that how all you surfer boys talk? LOL
Gotta let you know the latest here in Pontiac

My mom has dug up some new boyfriend with money. They are off to Atlantic City to hit it rich. Yeah, right, when Big Momma wears daisy dukes. But the good news is that before she sailed out of my life again, Momma signed the final papers giving Big Momma permanent custody.
It all suits me and Big Momma real fine.

I really liked all your letters talkin' about trips to the ocean, the twins, and your new school. It makes me happy, you're happy. It's cool to hear about your new friends. It makes me crack up every time I think of the timid and shy "Mr. Rogers" I first met and this new and confident version. Yup, things have surely changed.

There is a slow change happening at my school, too. I surely would have laughed in anybody's face if they had suggested it, but me and Mrs. Nortamura are becoming friends. It didn't happen overnight and it wasn't close to the relationship I had with Mrs. Seal. But it's a step in the right direction.

It all started when I had turned in my Science notebook. The next day, Mrs. Nortamura asked me to stay after class. I couldn't come up with what I had done now. I hadn't been in trouble for weeks. So I just walked straight up to her desk and waited. Mrs. Nortamura was passing back kids' notebooks and wishing them a good evening. Finally, the classroom was empty except for us. She pulled out my notebook and opened it to a page. She showed the book to me and asked, "Did you do this?"

Dreading what I'd see, I lowered my eyes to where Mrs. Nortamura was pointing. On the page, was a poem I had written. I didn't know what to say. Was I in trouble for writing in my Science book? Was it so horrible that she wanted me to stop writing? Had I said something I shouldn't in it? It was the one about butterflies. Nothin' wrong with that.

So I told her, yeah, I wrote it. I promised I won't mess up my notebook again. It's just that...that sometimes I get an idea and I gotta write it down right away or I'll forget it. That drives me crazy when I can't remember somethin' good I was gonna put down. But... I'd get me another notebook to put them in. That I was sorry, it won't happen again. I figured that would cover my behind.

Then she says,"Tanisha, this is wonderful. Please feel free to write your poems on anything you wish. I would love it if you would share them with me." Mrs. Nortamura handed the book back to me. I didn't know what to say. No one had read my poems.

As I walked out the door and down the hall, all I could think was that somebody liked my writing. You could have knocked me down with a feather! Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll send you some to read.

But I saved the strangest or greatest news for last. I guess it depends on if you believe in these kinds of things. I know I'm not explaining. Just wait, you'll get it at the end.

Mrs. Nortamura and I have been talkin' about Mrs. Seal. I told her all about how Mrs. Seal had been a combination supporter, friend, and drill sergeant. I know you didn't know her, but she was the best. I still miss her. Mrs. Nortamura just listens all quiet like she does. Then I told her how it seemed like everytime I think about Mrs. Seal, I see butterflies. I know, it sounds crazy. But she doesn't even crack a smile. She just nods and tells me how that a lot of people believe that butterflies are a symbol of eternal life. And that it makes perfect sense to her that I'm seeing these dang butterflies.

I tell her it all started at Mrs. Seal's memorial at the nature center. It was held in the butterfly garden, so of course there were tons of those buggers flying around. She keeps nodding like she wasn't surprised that had happened. Well, I don't understand a thing! So she suggests we go back to the nature center.

I ask Big Momma if it's okay, and so off we go to the nature center. We get out of her car and she asks about what happened. I tell her that Mrs. Seal's ashes had been poured over a little bridge into a stream. A lady had been singing and everybody just stood around like statues.

By this time, we are standing in the middle of the bridge. I notice that they've put a small sign saying "Mrs. S. Seal's Bridge". Before I know it, tears have filled my eyes and are spilling down my cheeks. But, I'm angry too, so I start yelling. "Why did you leave me? How could you just go away like that? Why? Why?" Mrs. Nortamura hugs me and just lets me rant and rave.

After a while, I calm down. She starts telling me how Mrs. Seal didn't leave me 'cause she wanted to. And how if I pay attention, Mrs. Seal is still with me. But I gotta be quiet and look into my heart. I'm listening to Mrs. Nortamura and then suddenly a bunch of butterflies surround us. They are every color, orange, black, teal, and green. I've never seen so many in one spot. They are so beautiful. Mrs. Nortamura looks at me and smiles. See, she says, Mrs. Seal has sent them to remind you. You are never alone. Just think of her and she will be with you. And you know what? Walt, I believe her.

Big Momma sends her love and says to make sure you're eating enough. Write back real soon.



Tanisha finds peace in the final chapter.
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