Charlie didn’t meet Isaac at the front door. He was probably busy doing homework. School had started again, after all. Isaac found Marianne in the kitchen and gave her a hug.
“Welcome home,” she said. “Can you check on Charlie? He should be done with his homework by now.”
“Of course,” Isaac said. “I’ll see if he needs any help.”
“Oh, I would guess it’s all review still,” Marianne said. “But it wouldn’t hurt to ask.”
Isaac smiled and hurried down the hall to Charlie’s room. He knocked on the doorframe as he looked inside. Charlie was asleep with his head on his desk. “Charlie?” Isaac said.
Charlie blinked and sat up. “Dad?”
Isaac came in and looked down at Charlie’s homework. It was halfway done, with the letters looking sloppier as they got further down the page. “Rough day?” he asked.
“No, it was fine,” Charlie said. “I’m just so tired.” He rubbed at his eyes and yawned.
Isaac laughed. “Maybe you need to get up and walk around for a moment,” he said.
“Maybe you’re right.” Charlie got up and adjusted a mug filled with flowers. They were strange flowers, deep blue triangular petals and round olive green leaves and stems.
“Those are pretty,” Isaac said. “Where did you find them?”
“I saw them on the way home,” Charlie said. “Aren’t they strange? I’ve never seen anything like them.”
Charlie picked up the mug and held it out to Isaac. Isaac leaned over to smell the flowers. He felt dizzy. He backed up a few steps. “Wow. I don’t feel so good,” he said.
Charlie set the flowers down on the desk. “Dad, maybe you should sit down.”
Isaac looked at the flowers. Hmmmm. “Charlie, grab your homework. Let’s go sit in the kitchen.”
“Okay,” Charlie said. They sat at the kitchen table, and it didn’t take long for both of them to feel better. “I guess I did need to walk around a bit.” He started to work on his homework again.
“Charlie,” Marianne said. “Why isn’t your homework done?”
“I fell asleep,” Charlie said.
“Getting used to a new schedule is tiring,” Marianne said. “I think you need a snack. Would you like carrots and hummus or apples and peanut butter?”
“Carrots,” Charlie said.
“Me too?” Isaac asked.
“Of course,” Marianne said.
Isaac chomped on the carrots and thought about the flowers. “Charlie, where did you find those flowers,” he asked.
“They were growing under a bush by the school mailbox,” he said. “I noticed them because of the color.”
“Did you see our sunflowers?” Marianne asked. “They’re all so tall now.”
“Can I go look at them while you check my homework?” Charlie asked.
“I’ll check your homework,” Isaac said. “It’s Mom’s night to cook.”
Charlie ran outside. Isaac read through the homework and circled the mistakes. Then he went out front to call Great-Aunt Bethyl. Within twenty minutes he was handing the odd flowers over to a man in sunglasses and a navy blue polo shirt. Just carrying them to the door had made him dizzy again.
“Do you have the directions to find the rest of them?” Isaac asked.
“Yes, thank you,” the man said. He sealed the mug and flowers in a large, clear plastic bag. Then he nodded, turned, and left.
At bedtime, Isaac went to check on Charlie. “About your flowers,” he said.
“They don’t last long, do they?” Charlie said. “Thanks for taking care of them for me. I hate to be the one to toss them out. I already felt a little guilty for picking them.”
“You did?” Isaac asked.
“Yeah, Mom says wildflowers don’t ever last very long once you pick them. She says I should leave them where they are. I’d just never seen flowers like those before and I wanted to look at them a little longer,” Charlie said.
“I can understand that,” Isaac said. “But next time you should probably do what your mom said.” He picked up their reading book. “So, do you want to find out if the dinosaur is able to fit into the submarine?”
Charlie laughed. “Of course he will. If he doesn’t, the story will be over.”
Isaac sighed. “You’re probably right.” He laughed. “Shall we read about it anyway?”
“Yes,” Charlie said. “Thanks Dad.”