Teaching children to read

My roommate, David, was dating a girl named Annie. She was beautiful, with blonde hair that hung down past her shoulders, and she had big blue eyes. But what made her especially beautiful was her kindness. David would invite her to join us in games of UNO. She never got upset when she lost, and she was always gracious when she won.

            David would often invite Annie over to our apartment to eat with him. If any one of us were eating at the same time, Annie would suggest we pool our food and eat together. It was fun because it brought us all together and made us better friends. It was especially good for guys like me who usually ate alone.

            One day as I was heading home, I ran into David. "Hey, Daris," David said. "Would you do me a favor? I have some things to do, and Annie is coming over to our apartment. I was wondering if you would mind visiting with her until I can get back?"

            I thought that it was a strange request. She was his girlfriend, and I had never visited with her without him there.

            "Uh, yeah," I said. "I'd be happy to visit with her."

            "Thanks," David said. "Oh, and by the way, she might have gotten a haircut, so compliment her on that. If she's sensitive or upset, just visit with her and help her feel better."

            He left, and I walked slowly to our apartment. I had never seen Annie sensitive or upset. She was always calm, positive, and raised the spirits of those around her.

            It was my day to do the dishes, so when I got to our apartment, I got started. I filled one sink with soapy wash water, put in the dishes, and had just stuck my hands into the water when there was a knock at the door. I turned, and through the window I could see Annie.

            "Come in," I called.

            When she walked in, I was shocked to see her dressed strangely, and her long, beautiful hair was in a pixie cut. David had mentioned a haircut, but I was still shocked to see her hair so short.

            When the shock wore off, I said, "Hi, Annie."

            She glared at me. "What did you say?"

            Taken aback by her sudden anger, I stuttered, "I . . . I just said hi."

            "Yeah, right," she said sarcastically.

            Not knowing what else to say, I said, "Your hair is cute."

            "Cute!" she said in a tone that made me shutter. "Cute! You call my hair cute?"

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            I thought maybe she liked it better long, so I said, "Oh, it was also beautiful long, and I like it that way, too."

            "So, my hair was beautiful long, but it's only cute when it's short?"

            "Are you upset about something?" I asked.

            "What makes you think I'm upset, and what business is it of yours, anyway?" she asked.

            I tried to be nice and say anything I could to appease her, but she just grew angrier and angrier. Finally, she was up almost in my face. She scooped water out of the sink, splashed it all over me, and stormed out. I thought about how disappointed David was going to be in me that I had made Annie angry.

            Not too long after that, David walked in. "David, I'm sorry," I said. "I made Annie angry, and I just made things worse when I tried to . . . "

            I stopped. Annie walked in behind David. Her hair was long and beautiful, and she was dressed normally.

            I was shocked. "But, Annie, your hair is long and beautiful, and your clothes are nice!"

            "Thank, you," Annie said, sweetly.

            "Did you like Angela?" David said with a laugh.

            Annie turned to him. "Oh, David, you didn't?"

            I was still in shock. "You're twins?"

            "Triplets, actually," Annie said. "Amy and I try to look alike, but Angela gets mad when someone mistakes her for one of us. I try to warn my friends before they meet her. You didn't call her Annie, did you?"

            I nodded.

            David laughed again and said, "April Fools on you, my friend."

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