One night, a boy overheard his parents saying something horrible about him, and the next day, he didn’t want to get on the bus back home. His teacher drove him and uncovered the astonishing truth about what happened earlier.
“Matt, why are you still here? Wasn’t that the last school bus?” Jillian asked her student, Matt, after she exited the school and saw him standing on the sidewalk, shuffling his feet and looking lost.
“I don’t know, Ms. Gillies. I just skipped it,” the boy responded, shrugging his shoulders and looking down. But Jillian knew something was wrong. Matt was a good kid, although science was not his best subject.
“Is this about yesterday’s quiz? Were your parents angry? It’s ok. I can give you extra credit to make up for it,” she offered, knowing that some parents were too strict about their kids’ education. Matt had gotten a C- and probably got scolded at home.
“I’m sorry. Who is Bobby?” Jillian asked, confused.
“Yes, my parents were mad… I didn’t get dessert after dinner as punishment. But it’s more than that. They… nobody waits for me at home. I heard them,” Matt said, his voice breaking and moisture gathering in his eyes.
“What? What did they say?” Jillian asked, frowning and leaning a bit.
They said, ‘I can’t deal with him anymore. We should’ve left him when we moved. He’s so annoying.’ Well, my mom said that. But then, Dad said, ‘Maybe, you’re right.’” His tears were openly falling now.
“Oh, dear,” Jillian expressed and wrapped her arms around the kid. Grades were necessary for his future, but it was just one test. It didn’t make sense. She couldn’t believe any parent would say they would instead abandon their child. “Come on, honey. I’ll take you home.”
Matt followed her and got into the car without saying a word, but Jillian heard his quiet sobs. She would have to speak to the parents about this situation because no kid deserved to hear something like that. Also, she had to know if she had to call CPS.
They arrived at his house quickly; it was just 15 minutes from the school by car. They got out, and she guided the kid to the door.
“Mrs. Gillies! What a nice surprise,” Matt’s mom, Darlene, chirped. “Come in. Come in.”
Jillian greeted her, and Matt’s father, Wayne, appeared as well. “Mrs. Gillies, are you here to talk about Matt’s grades? I was going to call you about some makeup work. He can do it. I don’t want this test to pull down his final grades,” the tall man said.
“Well, yes. We can do that, surely. I already told Matt about extra credit. But there’s a reason why I’m here. Matt skipped the last school bus, and he told me something worrying,” Jillian started. “Maybe we should sit down.”
Matt’s parents showed worried expressions, but they agreed and sat to listen to Jillian. Matt stood by the side to listen. When Jillian finished telling his parents everything, he cried once again.
“Dear God Matt!” Darlene said, standing up and reaching for her son. Her hands went to his shoulders. “We would never say that about you. We were talking about Bobby!”
“Bobby?” Matt asked, his tearful eyes meeting his mother’s.
“Yes, Bobby!” Wayne confirmed, standing next to them. And suddenly, Matt’s expression changed completely. He smiled and hugged his mother fiercely.
“I’m sorry. Who is Bobby?” Jillian asked, confused. Did Matt have a brother? If so, it didn’t make this situation better.
“I’ll show you,” Wayne said and went to his bedroom. A few seconds later, he returned holding… a cactus in his hands. “Matt named his cactus Bobby and gave it to his mother for Mother’s Day a year ago.”
“It was all about a cactus?” Jillian stood up and laughed.
Yes, we were talking about him last night. We got into the habit of using male pronouns for the cactus because Matt liked to do it,” Darlene explained, still holding her child around her waist. “I want to get rid of it because I have to keep trimming it to keep it on that tiny pot. It’s annoying, and I get pricked too much.”
Jillian laughed even louder, and they all joined her. They invited her for dinner, and the rest of the evening was lovely. Just as she was about to leave, Jillian made a suggestion, and she walked out of Matt’s house with a tiny cactus in her hands.
What can we learn from this story?
The best teachers are the ones who care about their students even when school is over. Jillian saw her student sad and heard him out, prompting her to find out what was happening at home.
Be careful with your conversations at home because kids eavesdrop. Parents must always be aware of their children’s presence in their homes, especially when having adult conversations.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.