Superfudge Part 43

Previous superfudge part 42.

After Daniel and Mrs. Manheim had gone home, Mom put her new Mozart record on the stereo, and we sat around the living room table, working on our family picture puzzle. It’s a mountain scene at sunset, and so far we’ve got one corner of it put together.

“Peetah ran away one time,” Fudge said, chewing on a piece of puzzle.
I took it away from him and said, “I thought about running away… but I never went through with it.” I found a matching piece and snapped it into place.

“And Daddy ran away when he didn’t want to work anymore,” Fudge said, stacking up the orange pieces.
“What are you talking about?” Dad asked.
“That’s why we moved to Princeton, isn’t it?” Fudge said.
“No, of course not,” Dad told him. “What ever gave you that idea?”
“I figured it out myself,” Fudge said.

“Well, that’s just not true!” Dad said.
“Then why did we come to Princeton?” Fudge asked.
“For a change,” Dad explained.
“That’s why I wanted to go to the lake,” Fudge said. “For a change.”
“Speaking or Princeton… and changes,” Mom said, polishing off her third brownie, “Millie and George will be back soon, and we have to decide what to do.”

“What do you mean?” I said.
“Well, either we have to find another house here, or we have to get ready to move back to the city.”
“You mean we have a choice?” I asked. “I always thought we were living in Princeton for the year… and that was it.”

Tootsie toddled over, reached up, grabbed a handful of sunset pieces, and ran away with them.
“Hey… come back with those,” I said, chasing her across the room. I handed her a rubber mouse, and she dropped the puzzle pieces.
“I’m not crazy about the idea of communiting,” Dad said, “but if the rest of you want to stay in Princeton, I’ll do it.”

“Commuting?” I asked.
“Yes,” Dad said. “I’m going back to work at the agency.”
“No more writing?” I asked.
“Not for now,” Dad said. “I’ve found out I’m not very good at it. I may never finish my book.”

I knew he wouldn’t. but I didn’t say so.
“I’m very good at advertising, though,” Dad continued. “And I’m anxious to get back to work.” He looked at me. “But that doesn’t mean I want to be president of the agency, Peter.”
“I know… I know…” I said. “What about you, Mom?” What are you going to do?”
“Well… with Daddy going back to work at the agency, I’d really like to get started on my art history classes… maybe at N.Y.U.”

“That’s in the city, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Mom said. “In Greenwich Village.”
“So you both want to go back to the city?” I asked.
They touched hands and Mom said, “I guess we do.
“What about you, Peter?” Dad asked. “What do you want to do?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I’m used to it here, but I still miss New York.”

“I don’t remember New York,” Fudge said.
“Of course you do,” I told him.
“No, I don’t,” he said. “Can I ride my bike there?”
“In some places,” I said. “Like Central Park.”
“I remember Central Park,” Fudge said.
“and you remember our apartment,” I told him. “And the elevator and Henry…”
“Oh, that’s right. I forgot about Henry and the elevator.”

Mom and Dad laughed.
“What about you, Tootsie?” Fudge said. “Where do you want to live… Princeton or New York?”
“Yuck!” Tootsie said.
“Did you hear that?” Fudge asked.
“Yuck!” Tootsie said again.

Mom and Dad exchanged surprised looks.
“That’s Tootsie first word,” Fudge said. “She wants to live in New York, too!”
“Nu Yuck!” Tootsie said.

I realized that I was the only one who knew that Tootsie had been saying yuck all day. And I wasn’t about to tell them that it had nothing to do with the city.

“That makes it unanimous!” Fudge said.
“What a big word,” Mom said.
“I know a lot of big words,” Fudge told her. “You’d be surprised at how many big words I know.”
“Fudgie,” Mom said, “you’re just full of surprises.”

So, we’re going back, I thought. Back to The Big Apple. Back to our apartment. Back to Jimmy Fargo and Sheila Tubman and my rock in the park. Back to walking Turtle and back to the PooperScooper. But it’s worth it. It’s all worth it. I picked up Tootsie and swung her around. I couldn’t help laughing. And Tootsie laughed too. To some people there’s no place like Nu Yuck. And I guess I’m one of them!

THE END