When Miss Evans sees that her new student always wears dirty clothes to school and doesn’t talk to anyone, she worries about her. One day, she goes to her house with the girl and learns something shocking.
“This semester, we have a new student,” Miss Evans told her students. “Everyone, please be nice to Kitty!”
Kitty shrank in her seat as the rest of the class greeted her. Some of the kids asked her where she was from and why she was there. This made the little girl feel even worse.
Miss Evans knew why the girl had to start school in the middle of the year. When she saw that little Kitty was moving, it broke her heart. She quickly got the attention of the other kids.
“I’m sure that we’ll all get to know Kitty better as time goes on. But it’s time to do maths now.”
When they took out their notebooks, the students groaned. Nothing came out of Kitty’s mouth. Then, she put her head down and let her dark hair cover her face. Miss Evans kneeled down next to her desk.
She greeted Kitty by saying, “Hi, Kitty.”
“I just want you to know that if you ever need to talk, I’m always here. “Changing schools is hard, but I’m sure you’ll get used to it soon.”
Miss Evans saw her sad brown eyes when Kitty gave her a quick glance. The kid had been through a lot, poor thing.
Kitty said, “Thank you, Miss,” very quietly.
Miss Evans put her hand on the girl’s shoulder and kept talking. She and Kitty waited outside for her dad at the end of the day. A big man soon walked up to them.
“Hi, Kitty,” was what he said. “Did you enjoy going to school today?”
Kitty said “yes” and moved away from Miss Evans so she could follow the man.
“You must be Kitty’s father.” Miss Evans gave you her hand to shake. “I’m her teacher, Miss Evans,” I told her.
“Nice to meet you, Miss. “My name is Steve.” Her dad smiled at her and shook her hand. He looked at Kitty next. “Why don’t you go wait in the car, Sweetie? You might want to put down that big backpack, and I need a minute to talk to Miss Evans.”
Kitty gave her dad a strange look and then ran over to an old pickup truck nearby.
Steve said, “These last few months have been hard for Kitty.” “You might want to keep an eye on her.”
“I noticed that she moved here because her mother had recently died.”
He was looked at by Miss Evans. “What’s going on with her?”
“Some days are good and some days are bad. Since I moved here for work, I didn’t see her and Shawna as often as I would have liked. Steve gave a shrug. When we know each other better again, things will go better.
“I have no doubts about it.” Miss Evans grinned. “Don’t worry, I’ll do everything I can to help Kitty adjust to her new home. She used to do well in school, so I’m excited to see her get back on track.”
What Miss Evans said she would do, she did. She kept a close eye on Kitty for the next few weeks. She was scared by what she saw. The girl often wore the same clothes to school. The clothes were usually dirty and damaged.
Kitty was quiet even in class. She sat alone on the playground when the other kids asked her to play with them. Miss Evans tried to get her out of her shell, but the girl didn’t talk until she begged Miss Evans for help.
This couldn’t go on forever! Miss Evans took her phone out of her bag and called 911.
The class is over now. People talked loudly as they left the room, but Kitty went to Miss Evans’ desk. She just stood there, arms crossed, head down.
“Kitty, are you all right?” Miss Evans questioned.
She gave a little nod. She talked in a way that made it hard for Miss Evans to understand.
“Say something, honey. I don’t get what you’re saying.”
“I don’t want to leave school!” Kitty yelled. She raised her head and looked at Miss Evans with tears in her eyes.
“I don’t want to go with my dad. Could I instead move in with you?”
When Miss Evans heard how sad Kitty sounded, it broke her heart. She got closer to the girl and put her hand on her shoulder. “Kitty, what’s wrong? Why don’t you want your dad to take you home? Is there something wrong?”
Kitty turned away after giving herself a big hug. “I can’t stand living with my dad. I don’t want to live with him any longer.”
“Oh, darling. I can see how hard it must be to get used to a new town and school. You’ve been through a lot, and I’m sure you miss the way things were before.
The child sobbed, “I miss my mum.” “I really miss my room.”
“Cat? ” Steve came to the door and used his big body to block it. “There you are. I was worried when I didn’t see you outside.
Kitty turned away from her dad and walked away. “No, I don’t want to go!”
Steve’s face wrinkled up. “Quick, Kitty. Don’t be like that.”
The lip of Kitty was shaking. As she looked at her father, tears ran down her dirty face.
“You know that I’m trying to be a good dad, right?” Steve squatted down in front of his daughter. “Right now, things are hard, but they’ll get better. You’ll find out.
Steve put his hand out to Kitty. Kitty wiped her eyes and shuffled towards him after a long time.
Miss Evans was confused about what to think. Kitty didn’t like living with her dad, but how much of that was because she was sad? She thought there was more going on than what she saw.
“Let’s leave all at the same time.” Miss Evans got to her feet and put her hand out to Kitty.
When they got to the parking lot, Kitty ran ahead of the adults to her dad’s truck, leaving the adults behind.
Steve said, “I’m so sorry about everything, Miss Evans.”
“Kitty has been under a lot of stress lately, and she’s not doing a good job of dealing with it.”
“I’ve seen that she sometimes wears dirty clothes to school,” said Miss Evans. “How are things back at home?”
Steve’s eyes grew bigger, and he scratched his beard. “Yeah. We’ve had some water issues, though. I swore to the owner that I told him about it, but no one has fixed it yet.”
“That makes me feel sad.”
“Her mother bought her those clothes, so she really likes them. Steve also said, “She doesn’t like to change her clothes.”
When they were only a few yards from Steve’s car, he stopped all of a sudden. “I’m glad you’re looking out for Kitty, but I don’t think she’ll be used to all the changes in her life for a while.”
Then Steve said goodbye to her. Miss Evans watched him get into his pickup truck. When he drove away, the car growled and let out a terrible cloud of smoke.
Miss Evans kept worried about Kitty even though Steve tried to make her feel better. She stopped going to school in dirty clothes, but she started being late a lot and skipping classes.
Miss Evans saw that Kitty’s face looked tired and pale one day. She looked like she was having trouble staying awake in class because she had dark bags under her eyes.
Miss Evans started to worry that Kitty was sick, so she decided to find out what was going on. She gave the class some work to keep them busy, and then she went outside to call Steve.
“Hello, Steve! Kitty goes to school with Miss Evans. I’m calling because Kitty often seems tired at school, which is why I’m calling.”
Steve said, “That’s because we had to stay up late so we could help her with her homework.” “Well, I’ve also been working late. Because of this, I can’t help her with her tasks in the early evening. That work is a lot harder than what I did at her age.”
“Well, Kitty seems to be having a lot of trouble, so it might be best to find her a teacher. I’ll write down some numbers and give them to Kitty so that she can give them to you.”
“Thank you, Miss Evans. It’s very kind of you to do that.”
Later that day, as Miss Evans was about to close the classroom door, she noticed a crumpled piece of paper near Kitty’s seat. She picked it up and saw that it was the note she had given the girl with the maths teachers’ phone numbers.
Miss Evans needed some help to get it. If Kitty was having trouble in school, why would she throw away the paper? She ran to the window to see if the girl had already left.
When I saw Steve and Kitty, they were just leaving the school grounds. Steve held the girl’s hand and put her rucksack on his shoulder as they walked. The cat had her head down.
Miss Evans said, “Go ahead.” That girl had a lot of troubles, which we would find out about today. Miss Evans ran quickly to her car. She was determined to follow Kitty and her father, but by the time she got to the street, they were gone.
The next day, when Steve came to pick up Kitty, Miss Evans was already there. They walked away again, this time with Miss Evans.
Miss Evans remembered that the father and daughter had to walk a few miles before they got to the old pickup truck. It was parked in an empty spot at the edge of town.
Steve opened the car door and put Kitty’s bag in the back seat. Then he put something over the windows with his hand. Kitty got in the cab when he was done, and Steve shut the door. He went around the truck and sat in the back.
Miss Evans didn’t know what was happening. Soon after that, Kitty came out in a new outfit. She was holding the clothes she wore to school in her arms. Miss Evans walked with them as they went to a nearby wash.
Miss Evans crossed the street and looked through an opening between two old shirts that were hiding the windows. When she saw what was inside, she gasped.
This couldn’t go on forever! Miss Evans took her phone out of her bag and called 911.
“Miss Evans, where are you going?”
When the teacher turned around, Kitty was running towards her. Steve was just behind her, and what he saw shocked him.
“I’ll put an end to this,” he said.
Then the cops came. They asked to look inside Steve’s car and shook their heads when they saw piles of folded clothes, pillows, blankets, and a teddy bear on the dashboard. The truck was where Steve and Kitty lived, and everyone could see that.
“It’s just for a little while!” Steve kept looking back and forth between Miss Evans and the cops as if he couldn’t decide who to talk to. “I hurt myself at work and lost my job, but I’ll get another soon! Then we won’t have to live on the streets.”
“I swear I don’t mind so much,” Kitty said. “My dad brought my pillow and Freckles, my teddy bear, so I can be happy, and I promise I am!” A little girl grabbed a police officer’s hand. “Don’t take my father away!”
“Honey, no one wants to take you away from your dad,” the police officer told her, “but you can’t keep living like this. Soon it will be cold, so you need a place to stay where you will be safe and warm.”
After that, the cop looked at Steve. “Sir, I’m going to take you and your daughter to a shelter. They’ll help you get back on your feet and take care of you and your child.”
Steve and Kitty went to the shelter, and Steve was later taken to a rehabilitation place for his work injury. Miss Evans set up a private meeting for the parents at the school in the meantime. She told them what Steve and Kitty were doing.
The school helped Steve and Kitty come up with a way to make money. They raised enough money to rent a small apartment for Kitty and her dad and give them all the furniture and tools they needed.
Kitty used to be a quiet, shy child, but as time went on, she changed into a girl who was always smiling. She got a full college scholarship because she was the best student in her class.
What can we learn from this story?
Don’t be shy about asking for help. Steve could have escaped a lot of sadness if he had been brave enough to ask for help sooner.
Believe what you think first. Miss Evans could have believed Steve’s answers, but she was smart enough to trust her gut feeling that there was more going on.