"How do you know?" I asked, thinking it an odd premonition.
"She came to visit our class before the vacance. Her name's Camille. She's from France."
I was thoughtful as I put Emma's box of crackers in her bag. "I wonder how she's feeling right now. It's her first day at a new school."
Emma stood up and took her backpack from my hands. "I don't know.... Scared, maybe?"
"You're probably right."
When we entered the school yard, Emma pulled on the sleeve of my coat and pointed to a blonde girl standing with her mother beside the park bench, apart from the lines of kids awaiting the morning bell. "That's her," Emma said.
"Maybe you could invite her to stand in line with you," I suggested as Emma carried on toward her classmates. "Maybe she doesn't know what to do."
Emma glanced at the girl from the corner of her eye and back at me, her smile suddenly timid. "No."
The bell rang and Emma's teacher opened the school's front door. Line by line, the classes filed in. Only after all were inside did the new mother and child move from their spot by the bench. I tried to smile my empathy to them at beginning anew, but their eyes never left the school's entrance. A few stride's later, they were inside and a new routine had begun.
By lunchtime Emma was bursting with news. "Sandy and I invited Camille to sit with us sur les bancs." On the benches at the front of the class.
"That was friendly of you. Good job!" I said, putting some pasta on to boil.
"Camille said we were chouette." Cute.
"Well, you are." They are.
"I told her that soon I'm going to be just like her. New." Emma's voice was confident, not scared. Not yet.
"You're right," I said, leaning down to kiss the top of her head. "And I hope you make a new friend as kind as you."