Jackson stretches and yawns as he heads for the fridge. It’s the third day of summer. A day that is still pretty special, in that it doesn’t contain school, but also pretty mundane, in that it is the third day to do so. Jackson plans to make full use of this summer, by doing as little as possible. He shakes his head to dislodge the thoughts of more sleep, and he reaches for the orange juice.
“Well, well, well,” he hears from behind him. “He’s alive!”
“Hello Ramona”, he answers without turning around. He’s still looking in the fridge. Everything in it requires some kind of preparation before eating, and he’s not sure if he’s quite up for that just yet. He wonders if his mother is around. Maybe she’ll want to make him some kind of special third-day-of-summer breakfast. He turns around.
Ramona has clearly been up for some time. She is dressed, and washed, and eating an apple at the counter while she looks at him, with that annoying ‘I’m better than you’ look that so often crosses her face. “I don’t understand how you can sleep the day away like that.” She says disdainfully.
Jackson looks at the clock above the oven. “it’s 11:47! AM! It’s morning time, and I’m up. That’s an achievement.” He rounds the counter with his orange juice to sit next to her.
“Maybe if you hadn’t stayed up until 3am playing some stupid video game, you could’ve woken up at a regular hour, like the rest of us. You missed your mom’s special third-day-of-summer breakfast!”
“Hey, that video game is not stupid! And if there’s any time to stay up all night playing it, it’s now. I don’t have to worry about falling asleep in class, because there is no class!” Jackson takes a long gulp of orange juice, and smiles dazedly. “Don’t you just love summer?”
“I do love summer” Ramona says, sliding off the barstool. “And you’re never going to see any of it if you spend the whole time sleeping.” She walks out of the kitchen to the living room.
Jackson follows her. “What’s so good about morning times? It’s not like anything ever happens in the mornings.”
Ramona sits on the couch and starts to put on her sneakers. “Lots of things happen in the mornings! This morning alone, I read half of the book for my English summer reading, I walked Comet, had breakfast with my family, and made plans to go to the mall. Tomorrow morning, I’m going for coffee with Rocky. She asked if we should invite you, but I told her you would probably still be asleep when we go.”
Jackson is silent. He had planned to leave his summer reading until the end of summer, and do it all in a panicked blur the day before school starts. He hadn’t taken Comet for a morning walk in weeks, and the last time he had sat down for breakfast with his family had been Easter. He also never made plans until after 2.30.
Ramona looks at him, and sighs. He has his thinking face on. “Look, all I’m saying is, you’re going to miss a lot of summer.” She hesitates for a second. “And summer’s going to miss a lot of you.” She turns to leave. He calls out to her as she opens the door.
“Wait!” she turns to face him. He looks at her. “Do you mind if I tag along to the mall?”
Ramona smiles. “You sure you don’t have plans?”
“My video game can wait. Just give me five minutes to get dressed!” He runs up the stairs, passing his mom and Tommy on the way. “Morning, guys!”
“Morning!” DJ says, as she watches him pass. She turns to Ramona, who is still standing at the door, smiling softly.
“How much of that did you hear?” Ramona asks.
“Everything” Tommy says, speaking around the soft toy bunny he has stuffed into his mouth. Ramona looks at the ground, suddenly feeling shy.
“Hey Ramona,” DJ says, coming to stand opposite her at the doorway. “Thank you.” She smiles genuinely at her.
“Thank you!” Tommy yells, as he sits on the floor and continues to chew on his toy. Ramona and DJ chuckle at the sight.
“Alright, Mister! Let’s go wash that bunny!” DJ picks Tommy up off the ground. She winks at Ramona. “You two have fun today.”
“Thanks, DJ.” Ramona looks up as Jackson comes thundering down the stairs, fully clothed and raring to go.
“I’m ready! Let’s go out there and seize that morning!” he stands with his hands on his hips, panting slightly.
Ramona looks at her watch. “There’s only one minute left to seize.”
“Well, let’s hurry up and seize it then!”
They laugh as they head out the door into the one remaining minute of morning.
The next morning, Jackson is already seated at the counter, dressed, reading his assigned book for English class and eating eggs and bacon, when Ramona gets downstairs. A similar plate is next to him. Ramona can’t help but grin as she joins him.