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Parts 123

Job rolled over and continued to think about the family in his book. Pa Joad had come up with a plan, plan for the family to escape. Did his father have a plan for them, Job wondered?

The next day at school Job faced Daisy. She had sidled up next to him like she had at the library and whispered.

“Did you bring the book?”

Like it was a pet he had snuck in, delicately held in his pocket, she wanted to play with. That was worse. Telling her it was gone, that he didn’t know where the book had gone or how to get it back again. Daisy sat, stoic, her expression impermeable, through his explanation. He even told her about his father’s discussion of him with his mother. Daisy had let him finish, then paused dramatically.

“That’s silly.”

Her matter-of-factness surprised Job.

“You didn’t mean any harm. It’s just a book. We’ll have to sneak back to the library.”

And with that bold pronouncement, a quick conspiratorial smile on her face, she drifted away. Daisy weaved slowly between the desks, blending back into the classroom’s cloud of movement. He couldn’t take his eyes off the confident swish of her bouncing ponytail waving back and forth between her shoulders and the other students.

All Sunday long Job told himself to wait. He smiled in anticipation, surprising his mother, who, looking down at his usually solemn face suddenly tousled his hair. She yearned  to tug him toward her and constrict him in an embrace of motherly violence.

He’s happy, she thought, my happy little boy.

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