The third Thursday
Left hand both grabbing and pushing the steering wheel of her decade old compact (of which she was the third owner), Janet Wernick twisted and looked back over her right shoulder. The car accelerated, front wheels spitting dirty snow forward, as it careened backwards across the hard narrow surface of the driveway, in the direction of the county road. In the front passenger seat, The Bird watched as they pulled away from the house, and fought the temptation to tell her mother to stop, let her out, she’d rather stay home than go to the dress rehearsal.
“What time did you say your fencing team was going to be at the theater?” The Bird’s mother was still looking back as she spoke.
The Bird (for that was what she was called now, even by her mother) said she did not know, a response that was purely reflexie. Then she remembered that Mr. Jacobs had told them to meet at the school parking lot at four, and she conveyed this information to her mother.
“Four.” The car turned, Janet still looking out the back, and The Bird felt the rear tires gripping pavement with a noise that almost sounded like relief. Her mother looked forward, grabbed the wheel with her right hand, left shifting from the top to the side. “They’ll get there by five, five-fifteen at the latest. Good — they’ll have time to meet the cast.” She smiled contentedly. “Mr. Jacobs — that’s Coach Dan, isn’t it?” The Bird said yes, that was what he liked to be called during fencing practice. “So — ” keeping her eyes forward, Janet nodded in The Bird’s direction — “why do you call him Mr. Jacobs?”
The Bird did not feel like explaining that she really wasn’t into this whole team thing, so she replied that she was just used to calling him by the name he used when he was teaching.