I withdrew after my father died. I was never outgoing but now, I was more introverted than ever. I had a lot of trouble making friends and interacting with others.
I remember Ms. Hall’s 3rd grade class – I would sit at my assigned desk, just like the other children sitting at other desks in the room. We were supposed to draw what we want to be when we grow up; it was supposed to be a fun assignment. I had a manila piece of paper in front of me.
The kids at the desks around me were busy coloring with crayons. Some were drawing guys building houses, driving cars or piloting airplanes. One was drawing a rocket ship. The page in front of me is blank except that I had put my name at the top left corner. ‘Bobby’ in purple crayon, and written at a slight angle.
Ms. Hall, a 40-something school teacher, strolled around, observing the students and nodding with approval at their projects. She came by my desk and stopped, assessing the blank paper in front of me. I didn’t look up, but I felt her presence. After a moment, she sighed and moved on.
They used to call this Art Class. Now, it’s Defamation. Now, it’s Biased Judgment. Now, it’s life.
The other children were engrossed in their creations, so I turned my attention back to the blank paper in front of me. Picking up a green crayon, I put it back down and then got a red one. I started marking on the page.
When art class was almost over, the teacher came back around to me, smiling. Like the other kids, I had finally drawn something. As she approached, her smile faded and her brow creased a bit. The page was covered with words. In fact, the paper was full of words, telling a story about a man in jail. She looked over my shoulder and picked it up. She flipped the page over and noticed that the words continued on the back. She turns the page back over, and scrawled at the top of the paper in red crayon it reads, “Trapped.”
“Bobby,” she said in a deliberate and kind tone, “why don’t you go outside and play with the other children.”
“But I’m not done with my story.”
“That’s ok. You were supposed to draw a picture. We’ll write stories another time,” she urged, looking at the paper with concern.
I got up and left the room, but not before I saw her take my paper and put it in the top drawer of her desk.
Life in Sixty-Four Square Feet
©Copyright 2015, Mitch Lavender
Rubik’s Cube® used by permission of Rubiks Brand Ltd. www.rubiks.com
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead or undead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.