December 1984

A couple of stragglers were the only other people left in the locker hall when Michael returned from studying in the library. He already had half of the books that he needed in his backpack, which meant less of a hassle retrieving the rest.

Still, he felt daunted by the amount of homework that had been set for Christmas vacation. It was going to be hard to find the motivation to complete it with Sharon and his maternal grandparents around, since all three were bound to let the festive mood take them over completely.

At such times, his father's typical grumpy demeanor was almost refreshing. It brought a change of pace to the unbridled optimism that often wore him out mentally by New Years Day.

He had made sure his locker door was secured properly and was just about to leave, when he saw the red card that must have been swept to the floor in his earlier rush. He dropped his bag and bent down to pick it up, then turned it over to see a picture of a teddy bear on the front flap.

He unfolded the card to read the message inside and smiled.

Dear Michael,

I picked this one because the bear reminded me of you. Wishing you a happy Christmas and New Year.

Lisa

PS: We could still do science experiments together, if that's okay with you.

He held the card to his chest while knowing without a doubt what his answer would be. He'd been afraid that Lisa might hold a grudge against him for refusing her party invitation, but now it seemed like she wasn't that sort of person at all.

He slipped the card into his bag in relief, then made his way for the doors to focus once again on the immediate future.