The next day I was at the park bench again, waiting eagerly and listening for the sound of John’s footsteps. I had left the house while my mom was out with some of her friends, so I had easily made it out of the house. Finally, I heard John’s footsteps, along with another pair of footsteps that I didn’t recognize. They stopped right in front of me.
“Hi, Chloe. I already found an open picnic table. You ready?” John asked.
“Yeah.” I stood up. “Who’s with you?” I asked.
“I told you that she’d notice.” The girl’s voice had a hint of laughter in it.
“Yeah,” John agreed reluctantly. “Chloe, this is my cousin that I told you about, Jennifer. Jen, this is Chloe… oh, I don’t know your last name.”
“Caldwell,” I told him.
“Chloe Caldwell,” John repeated, grinning.
“Nice to meet you,” I told Jen.
“You too,” she replied. “Are you guys ready to get started?”
“Yeah,” John told her. “Chloe, Jen’s going to help us out. She’s had a lot of experience with these sorts of things, especially with her in the same situation as you.” We strolled over to the picnic table that John had picked. I explained everything to Jennifer that had happened, about my argument with my mom. I could tell that she understood.
We reached the picnic table and sat down. I heard Jennifer rest her elbows on the table. “Do you have any ideas, Jennifer?” I asked.
“Ugh. Please, just call me Jen. Only teachers call me Jennifer. Although my parents call me Jennifer when they’re mad, too.” I heard her lean forward, her arms brushing against the table. “My parents were the same as yours when I decided that I wanted to go to public school. I think that it might help if your parents could talk to my parents about this.”
“Do you really think that would help?” I asked hopefully.
“Yeah,” Jen replied. “So, how are you going to get our parents together?”
I thought for a second, and then an idea popped into my head. “I guess I can just ask my mom if a blind friend and her parents could come to dinner some night. I know they like talking to other parents with blind kids. And she encourages me to be friends with other blind people, so it’ll probably work.”
“Sounds good,” Jen agreed. “Why don’t you do that, and then you can call us and tell us how it goes.” She slipped a small sheet of paper to me. I felt Braille numbers on it. “Here’s my number,” she told me. “John knows how to set up a conference call, so we can all talk at the same time.”
“Got it,” I said. “I’ll go get to work.”