Unfair Events That Occurred In My Childhood
When I was three years old, my mother thought she caught me stealing. She found a pink bow hair clip in our back to school shopping bag. She didn’t buy the clip, so she assumed I stole it. We were sitting in the parking lot. She tried to pinch me from the driver’s seat. I was already buckled in my car seat and there was too much plastic to reach around. Instead, she pulled me out and took me back inside the store. She made me apologize to the cashier. The cashier was a skinny teenage boy. He took the clip in his hand and turned it around like he didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t wrong of her to teach me not to steal. She was trying to make a connection. Most connections are based on false assumptions anyway. It was unfair that after that, she made me wear pink bow clips, which I hated.
In second grade, my class went on a field trip to the swamp. Our teacher told us we should draw three plants or flowers in our notebooks. On the bus, Josh Roberts took my pencil from my hand and started drumming on the window. When I tried to take it back, he broke it in half. I asked my teacher for another pencil. She said she couldn’t give me one because if she did, she would have to give pencils to all of her students. I said, why? She said, it’s only fair. I said, but I’m the only one who needs one. She said, yes, but she only had one, and she needed it. I asked if I could borrow it to do my drawings. She said no. I said, but if I don’t do this assignment, then I’ll get a 0, and I might get a check minus on my report card. She said, I’m sorry. That’s the way it works.
One time I did get a check minus. I got a check minus for writing too little on my vocabulary sheets. Our teacher told us to define every word we didn’t know in this book about Alaska. I defined the word, Samoyed, a breed of medium-sized dog developed in northern Eurasia. My teacher said I should’ve been more detailed. I said, why? That’s what a Samoyed is, right? She said, right, but be more detailed. So I drew a picture of a white dog with a curled up tail pulling a sled full of packages. I said, like this? She said, ok, but write it. So I wrote, a dog with thick white fur. I asked her if she’d give me a check plus. She said, write more. I said, but that’s the only word in the book I don’t know. She said, look, just find some words and write some definitions.
One afternoon, this group of boys rode by my house on bikes. I was sitting alone in the front yard, reading. They threw some bottles in the yard. The bottles broke against the sidewalk and they shattered on the grass. I picked up all the bits of glass in a plastic bag. I threw the bag away and told my mom when she got home. My mom said, what? You’re lying. I said no. I thought, be detailed, so I said, they threw them at my eyes. I said that because the sunlight glistened off the bottles. The glare hurt me like the way it hurts to press your eyes shut. I felt spots in my head. I said, Mom, I picked up all the bottles. But my dad said I was lying too. I went to bed without dessert. I looked out of my bedroom window. The sun hadn’t even set. I watched the colors bloom and thought of all that glass. I thought, I hope they come back every day. I hope the bottles pile up. I hope they shine so brightly no one can ignore them.