Friday, February 24, 2006


I stepped into the room, onto a grey meadow with faded flowers and looked around me carefully, curiously. Everywhere I looked there were colorful signs pasted on the faded yellow walls with an abundant supply of ink to cover them. I saw the blackboard and let out a sharp breath. It was the symbol of learning to my young mind. Ominously large and dark, it quite covered the entire far wall of the room, inspiring my awe as well as my fear. Desks with stacks of books beside them and a conspicuous white paper resting atop each filled the rest of the space efficiently. I swelled with pride when my eyes found my name written neatly among the rest. It sat there expectantly, beckoned amiably. “Hello desk.” I breathed. I crept over to it, my animation rising with each tread. I ran my hand over its smooth wood and shivered. There was a golden pencil lying next to my name, sharpened to the utmost point. I picked it up with pleasure, touching the tip of it to feel the prick. I picked up one of, “My books.” I whispered. It was heavy. I turned the pages with trembling fingers, exploring the painted pictures of learning with eager eyes. I saw frogs and tigers, girls and boys, trees and boats, water and sky. The pages smelled sweet, like dry rain.
There were a few other curious faces, standing by their desks, also examining the foreign but lovely environment. We smiled at each other placidly, not yet acquainted with the hostility and rivalry that devours with age.
“Good morning children. You may all take your seats so we can begin” I turned and saw vibrant, wandering eyes surrounded by short, black locks. Her smile was heartening to us, the timid greens of knowledge. She reminded me of my mother. She was clad in a flowery dress which I thought very pretty. She strolled to the front of the class and sat down at her great station of instruction. “Since this is your first day of school, there will be no real work.” Her voice was calm and charming but firm, flowing out from somewhere deep inside her. “I’ll be introducing myself and then each of you will tell us a little bit about yourselves as well.” We proceeded through the introductions. I found she was Miss. Lewis. I tried to memorize each of my classmates’ names as they were revealed, but I had difficulty remembering every one. My turn came and I declared my name and birthday unabashedly before the crowd, hearing the strangeness of my voice against the silence. I had not yet learned to be shy.
Lunchtime came and I found I could make friends quickly. Four of us girls obtained a lunch in the cafeteria, and sat down to a metal picnic table to laugh and chatter. I thought cafeteria food a banquet fit for kings. One of the girls was Gabby. At recess she and I begged admittance to the boys’ soccer game. We stuck by each other at once because of our similarities. I liked her. Back in class we played games and sang songs. Although no “real work” had begun, I learned much and found it was exhilarating. It was a wonderful day. As I jumped down the school steps, gloriously exiting the school day, the sky sang above me.
On the way home in the car mother asked me how my first day of school was. I shrugged and said casually, “Just like any other day I guess.” Then, matter-of-factly, as if I had conquered the world, “Except today I grew up a little.”


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