Kindergarten teacher Renée Higgenbotham Swan (36) was killed in a car crash one mile from her residence in Phoenix, AZ, January 9, 2005. She is survived by her daughter Isabella (16). Her service will be held at -
Bella has the entire obituary pasted into a page of one of her compilation notebooks but tends not to re-read past the first lines. It's repellent. The concept of obituaries is repellent. The funeral is over. Renée's vibrant brief life has been summed up over the course of a paragraph, and is also over.
Bella pretends to sleep on the plane. Her neighbor is talkative and she doesn't want to say shut up, my mom just died, because - what if it doesn't work? What if this news doesn't have the power to bludgeon everyone else into stunned silence the way it does Bella?
Charlie collects her. Charlie hugs her. Charlie doesn't make her talk. Good wonderful understanding quiet Charlie does not say a word. He takes her home. Her room's where she left it last August.
Bella stays home, moving in, moping, for a day, and then she shows up at school, gray-faced and withdrawn. First class is English. Okay, whatever.
The teacher wants her to introduce herself. Bella wants to yank on the skinny end of his tie until he regrets making her.
She stands at the front of the room and says that her name is Bella Swan and she's moved here to live with her dad. The teacher makes an impatient go on gesture and she stands there for a moment before robotically saying the same thing she produced at the beginning of the year in her old school in Phoenix when they were doing go-around-the-room-and-share-facts. "I'm one of those people who actually likes Shakespeare."
He lets her sit down.