"Gees, professor. You can't take the square root of a circle with a protractor. How many times do I have to explain this to you?"
Her grandmother had crocheted that hat. She'd made it for Jilly after moving in, as an apology for usurping her bedroom. She's dead now. No one knows exactly what happened; at least Jilly got her room back.Her parents discussed taking her to a grief counselor. She was still in elementary school, after all, and her grandmother had just died. That qualified as a traumatic experience, didn't it? What damage had been done to her young psyche? They hadn't once caught her crying; was that a sign?Jilly attended just one session before the psychiatrist moved. A job offer had opened up in a city located four hours away. It had good benefits and even better pay -- the psychiatrist would have been a fool not to take it. She took it.One night, Jilly walked in on her parents talking about finding another psychiatrist. They stopped speaking when they saw her, but she smiled, seeming to know exactly what the conversation had been about. Jilly plopped herself in between her parents on the couch and looked up at them through her eyelashes adoringly."I'm okay, Mommy and Daddy. Really. You don't need to find me another doctor." Her mother's face softened, and Jilly gave them both a hug. "Good night."They didn't pursue the matter again.School started up in the fall as it did every year. Jilly would be going into third grade. She and her mom went out and bought the supplies, and Jilly was content. She liked getting things that were pretty, and then taking them home with her and writing her name on the inside with a fat, black marker.Jilly wanted Mr. Reynolds for her teacher. Every time she had walked by his classroom last year, he had been making a joke. She liked him. She did /not/ like Mrs. Sharpe. Everyone knew Mrs. Sharpe was the meanest teacher in the whole school.Her letter came the week before school started. She had Mr. Reynolds. Her mother took her out to get an ice cream, in celebration. Jilly got chocolate sprinkles on hers.School began uneventfully, and Jilly settled into her routine: get up, have pancakes, finish last night's homework, leave. When she came home from school, she dropped her backpack on the floor and ran outside to play. Hannah had used to be her best friend, but then she started playing with Rachel instead. Jilly had found a new best friend; his name was Jackson, and he /always/ had time to play with her.Jilly trusted Jackson with everything. She had told Jackson when her grandmother moved in with them. He'd told her that everything would work out, and then it had. She had complained about the doctors she was going to, and he said not to worry. Then it was fixed! Jilly had been prattling about Mr. Reynolds for weeks, and he'd said that he was SURE she would get him. And she /had./ "You must be magic," Jilly said in awe. Jackson just laughed."Naw," he snorted, and jumped down from the monkey bars. "You're the magic one." Jilly would have hugged him if it weren't for his cooties.From the window, Jilly's mother looked down on her playing at the swing set. She thought again about calling a shrink when she saw that Jilly was laughing and playing all alone.