Dorothy paced her bedroom countless hours before she mustered the courage to talk to her mom about going back to school.
“That’s a good idea, sweetie, but don’t you think you’re rushing things?”
“It would make me happy though, and Martha wanted me to ask you.”
“I’ll talk with your dad about it and see what he says. I think we can find a compromise though.”
Two days passed without any word from her parents, and she was feeling disheartened when she was called into the living room for some special news.
“Your father and I have something we want to tell you. We discussed the possibility of you going back to school, and we both think it’s too soon for that. We need to really work on your progress with your memory and physical therapy; however, we are both open to the idea of bringing in a tutor to help you get caught up in school work, if you’re up to that idea. Take some time to think about it and get back to us. We have a few people in mind, but it would be fair to have your input in it,” her mom said.
Dorothy looked at her dad. It was the first time she could remember seeing him smiling, but that wasn’t saying much; she only had a few months of memories but it was still progress. She returned his smile and agreed to the tutor.
Her dad surprised her by speaking. “Great. We will call the tutors so you can have a chance to interview them.”
“I trust your judgment in this. I mean, you know more about this stuff than I do.”
They looked at each other and nodded. “Good. I think we both have someone in mind who would be great for you. We can buy all of your supplies today, and she can come over tomorrow if you’re ready,” her mom said.
Dorothy hardly slept that night. She flipped through the new composition books and sharpened all her pencils. In the morning, her stomach flip-flopped, and she found it difficult to keep her breakfast down. She wondered if everyone felt this way on the first day of school, and she tried in vain to remember any new school year.
“You’re going to do great,” her dad said as he left for work.
Her mom kissed the top of her head. “I have some errands to run, but I should be back when you are done with your session. Call me if you need anything. I’ve written the number and posted it to the fridge.”
After her parents left, Dorothy wandered the house. She saw the desktop computer in the living room for the first time and walked toward it. On impulse, she turned it on and was met by a singsong noise and a pop up asking for the password. She wondered if a forgotten computer password was grounds for an emergency, but she decided to try before calling. She tried everything: their street name, their last name, and finally her name, which was the winner. She went on the internet and looked up words from the doctor’s report that she didn’t recognize, and the first was aminesis, the cell death causing memory loss. She was so engrossed in her research that she didn’t hear the door bell ring or the faint knock until a few minutes passed.
Dorothy opened the door to reveal a young woman who looked like she was in her twenties, holding a stack of books and a few binders.
“Hi, I’m Connie. You must be Dorothy? I’m your new tutor.”
“Hi, Connie. Yeah, I’m Dorothy. Come in. My parents are out, but we can set up at the dining room table.”
“Sounds good. So, your parents told me a little bit about what happened and why you’re not in traditional school. I think the home schooling option is a great idea. So, I suppose you want to know a little about me. I’m in my final year of college, working on a teaching degree. I want to teach elementary school language arts, but I’m familiar with high school courses. I took the liberty of going down to your former school to borrow textbooks and get a copy of the curricula for each class you would have been taking this year.”
“Wow, it sounds like you’ve already done a lot of work. What were the classes you picked?”
“The traditional English, geometry, biology, world history, music theory, and French. How do those sound? Your mom said you used to play the piano, so that inspired music theory, and I’m fluent in French, so that’s what I can easily help you with.”
“Those all sound good. I used to play piano? I didn’t know.”
“Well, you’ll be playing again in no time. How about we get started? What interests you the most right now?”
Dorothy considered each course and looked at each textbook. “English sounds good. Is that okay?”
“This is your session. You choose what you want to work on for the day. My job is to teach you the material and make sure you stay on track for graduation. And make sure you do your homework.”
She chuckled. “Yes, really. You’ll have homework nightly, but we’ll start slow and make sure you get the hang on things before we jump all in. Who knows? Maybe when you’re cleared to go back to traditional school, you’ll prefer homeschooling. It’s really what I excel in – this one-on-one contact.”
After six hours of intense learning, Dorothy asked if they could continue the next day, and Connie agreed. Dorothy’s mind was strained, and she had to relearn all the basics of mathematics and science again. Dorothy was pleased that she could still read, write, and understand most things, though. What surprised both her and Connie was that she intuitively knew the answers for music theory; so accurately, in fact, that Connie was sure the answers were written somewhere Dorothy could see. Connie had said goodbye and walked out of the house as Dorothy’s mom walked in.
“Why, hello, Connie,” she said.
“Hi, Mrs. Caldwell. We just finished for the day. We got through a lot of material; more than I thought we would.”
“Good. I’m glad to hear that. I hope you have a great day.”
“You too, Mrs. Caldwell.”
“Call me Evelyn.”
“Yes, ma’am. See you tomorrow.”
“I heard you had a good first day. How are you feeling?” her mom asked.
“Exhausted. It was more than I thought. I’m glad I didn’t go to traditional school. We worked on the basics today.”
“Good. I was worried about that today.”
“Connie said I used to play piano.”
Dorothy couldn’t help but noticed the pained expression than ran across her mom’s face. “Yes, before the accident. You had been playing since you were five years old.”
“Almost a decade. And I have no memory of it.”
“Yes, well, Connie told me she chose music theory class for you, so maybe you can get back into it slowly.”
“I’d like that. I need to find a piano.”
“We have one. It’s in the attic since we got back from Colorado, but I can ask your dad to bring it down so you can practice, if you’d like of course.”
“I’d love it. Apparently, I knew a lot of music theory without having actually remembered it.”
Dorothy and her mom sat on the couch and watched Casablanca, what she was told was her favorite movie from before. Dorothy leaned back on the couch, closed her eyes, and felt happy she could share this moment with her mother.