Melinda stops skipping school. She likes being on top of her classes again.
The guidance counselor gives Mom and Dad the good news. She says they should give Melinda a gift of some sort. They decide to buy her some new clothes.
Melinda can't stand shopping with Mom, so she's glad when Mom and Dad say her shopping spree is to take place at Effert's. Effert's is the store where Mom works; she gets a discount.
At least there Melinda can shop fast and easy and go back home.
She's waiting for the bus to take her to Effert's after school. It's freezing.
Mr. Freeman pulls up in a blue Volvo and offers her a ride. She accepts, and warms up in the cozy car while Mr. Freeman drives.
He compliments her on her cubist tree, saying she's improved a lot as an artist, even though she probably doesn't see it. Melinda says, "I don't know anything. My trees suck" (58.10).
Mr. Freeman says that she shouldn't put herself down like that. In art, mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow.
Melinda, surprised that she's talking so much, says that she doesn't understand what Mr. Freeman means when he tells them "to put emotion into [their] art" (58.13). She says, "I don't know what I'm supposed to feel" (58.13).
Mr. Freeman says that powerful art comes when people use art to express their emotion. When people don't express what they feel, they die inside.
At Effert's, Melinda thanks Mr. Freeman for the ride and gets out.
Mr. Freeman tells her, "You're a good kid. I think you have a lot to say. I'd like to hear it" (58.17).