The bell rang. The first-grade students raced for the door.
“Quietly!” Mrs. Mills said.
Eric stayed at his desk.
“Aren’t you going out?” asked Mrs. Mills. Eric didn’t look up. “Recess is fun. Don’t you want to play?”
“Not really,” Eric whispered.
Eric didn’t like recess. Usually he just wandered around by himself. The other kids already had lots of friends. One boy called him names. He didn’t want Mrs. Mills to know.
“I’m sorry, but we have to go outside,” Mrs. Mills said. “I can’t leave you here by yourself.”
Eric felt like crying. He looked out the window again. He saw someone he knew. Eric smiled and waved.
“Who’s that?” Mrs. Mills said.
“That’s my brother, Pete,” said Eric. “He’s in fourth grade.”
Eric ran outside.
“Why aren’t you playing football?” Eric asked. The older boys always played out on the field.
“Because I’m going to the swings with you,” said Pete.
Pete led the way. They walked past kids hanging on the monkey bars and jumping rope. Eric loved being with his brother. Then they walked by the field where the boys were playing football.
“Hey, Pete,” one of the boys said. “Who’s the kid with the glasses?”
“He’s my brother, Eric. I’m showing him around today.”
“So you’re not playing with us?”
“No,” said Pete. “Today I’m with him.”
Eric smiled as they walked to the swings. A kindergarten girl was standing nearby.
“Want to swing?” Pete asked.
She walked over. “I just lost a tooth!” she said. She showed Eric.
“Cool,” said Eric.
Eric climbed on one swing. The girl climbed on another. Pete pulled back the first swing and gently let go. Then he pushed the other one. Eric felt the wind on his face. The girl was laughing. Pete made sure the swings didn’t go too high.
“You could play together again tomorrow,” Pete said.
“That would be fun,” the girl said.
Maybe, thought Eric, recess would be better from now on.