THAT NIGHT I wAs putting a few things away in my workroom when Erin came down to say good night. She hugged me for so long that I asked if anything was wrong.
She shook her head against my shoulder.
"You sure, Bug?"
A nod, then, "Do I act all snotty about being smart?"
I pulled back so I could look her in the face. She wasn't crying, but she looked pretty miserable nonetheless.
"No. You do not act all snotty about being smart. Who said you did?"
She looked at the floor.
"Zoe?" I guessed.
"Do you know why she said that?"
"No" Erin 's voice was sullen.
"So when did this come up?" I asked.
"At dinner last night. I was telling her about some of the stuff we did in math camp yesterday." She turned her face up toward mine. "Do you know anything about Fibonacci numbers?"
"Nope. Never heard of them."
"Well, they're this really cool series of numbers that represent the ratio of all sorts of things in nature-the spirals in sea shells and sunflower seed heads and pinecones and-you know about phi, right?"
"Uh… sort of."
Her face fell.
"I'm sorry, Bug. I'm just not into math. But you're obviously getting pretty passionate about it, and that's great. No, really," I said, seeing her skepticism.
"Well, when I told Zoe about it, she said I was being all conceited about being smart. She's smart, too, you know. It's not my fault her mom makes her go to soccer camp instead of math camp. So I told her she was being snotty about being a big jock."
"You guys don't usually fight." "
She shrugged and looked away. "Yeah"
"Feel pretty bad now, huh," I said.
I guess." She ground the toe of her flip-flops into the poured concrete floor.
"I bet she feels pretty bad, too. Why don't you give her a call?"
"Tomorrow. After you've both slept on it a little longer"
She hesitated, then nodded. "Okay. G'night, Sophie Mae."
At the stairs she turned around. "Are you going to move in with Barr?"
Oh, gosh. Deep breath. "I don't know."
"Well, I hope you don't," she said. "I want you to stay here."
I could only manage a nod.