All ever I wanted was for Juli Baker to leave me alone. It all began in the summer of 1957,before the start of second grade.
-Here we are.
–What do you guys think?
–I like this place.
–Uh,what color is my room?
-Just you wait.
-Let’s see what’s inside.
–Hey, come on, buddy Bryce. Why don’t, uh, you and I go help unload the van…and the womenfolk here can get in the kitchen and start setting up. –Okay. Dad.
For me, it was the beginning of what would be more than half a decade of strategic avoidance and social discomfort.
-Hi, I’m Juli Baker.
–Hey, hey, what are you doing?
–Don’t you want some help?
–No. there’s some valuable things in there.
–How about this one?
–No, no, no. Run home, your mother’s probab ly wondering where you are. –Oh, no,my mom knows where I am. She said it’s fine.
It didn’t take long to realize this girl could not take a hint.
–It’s crowded in here with three people.
–I don’t mind.
Of any kind.
–You wanna push this one together?
–Bryce, isn’t it time for you to go help your mother?
–Huh? Oh, yeah.
I mean, nothing would stop her. I was about to tell her to get lost when the weirdest thing happened. I couldn’t believe it. There I was holding hands with this strange girl. How did I get into this mess?
–Well, hello. I see you’ve met my son. –Uh-huh.
Finally, I did the only manly thing available when you’re 7 years old. However, my troubles were far from over.. The minute I walked into Miss Yelson’s classroom…