“AAHHH!” said Tommy, eyes full of tears.
“That lightning was so loud. There’s a buzz in my ears!”
Jenny cracked a smile and Emma giggled too.
Jesse hid his face and Carter fiddled with his shoe.
Ms. Halsey had told them and told them again,
“We never make fun of our classroom friends.”
Tommy saw the smiles and the bitten lips and smirks.
“I’m really scared of storms. And you’re all a bunch of jerks!”
Ms. Halsey walked over and gave Tommy a hug.
“There’s nothing to fear, Mr. Tommy-Bug.”
“Now, class, what have we said about making sport?”
“But Ms. Halsey, Tommy is the nervous sort!”
Tommy’s tears turned to sobs and he buried his face.
He wished he could be home or some other safer place.
Emma felt sad and stood up by her desk.
“I’m sorry I laughed, Tommy. My timing’s not the best.
I’m not afraid of thunder when I’m in Ms. Halsey’s room
You’ll feel the same one day but right now, it’s just too soon.”
Emma walked over to Tommy and Ms. Halsey stepped away.
“I hope you’ll still be my friend after the way I’ve acted today.”
Tommy wiped his face with the back of his hand,
worked up the nerve to make his wobbly legs stand,
thought in his head, “It’s time to be a man,'”
smiled at Emma and held out his hand.
“Of course I’m still your friend and yours and yours and yours!
I just get a little scared when the old man snores.
But I’ll be OK if we can be brave together.
A friend is a friend in any kind of weather.”
So Tommy hugged Ms. Halsey and Jenny and Carter.
He bear-hugged Jesse and Emma even harder.
Tommy knew next time, he’d feel much more safe.
Because good friends are the best kind to make a boy feel brave.