My First Day of School

A pencil and a sheet of paper.

Why put anyone through this kind of stress?

As early as I can remember, around age 4 or 5, I’ve had a strong desire to make everything alright by my family.

Why do I say this? At this young age I knew things weren’t right and to straighten them out, all we had to do was “tell the truth”.

The truth revealed itself to me as I would hear and see my elders lying to my grandma. I would see how my grandma responded to their lies and I knew it would have a totally different response had they told the truth. Why put anyone through this kind of stress? They would intentionally put my Granny on the wrong road home. Did they do this out of meanness or didn’t they know better?

Not enough food, refrigerator always empty and house in disarray, I knew I did not want to live this kind of lifestyle and felt I should have to. I’d been told about school and when I turned six years old I would have to go. This school was one big mystery to me and stayed in the back of my mind.

As I was playing one day my mom came to me and told me tomorrow you will be starting school. Shocked I said I wasn’t yet six and she responded that’s okay. I said where is the school? As I mentally prepared myself, the reality was sinking in faster than I could react. Next thing I know, my mom had one of the neighbors to walk with me and show me the way to school, about a mile away from my house. Because it was shorter, we walked the railroad track instead of taking the road. This was even more frightening because all I’d ever been told was “stay off the railroad track”. I was too nervous to remember the way to school.

The next day, I still couldn’t believe it and totally unprepared, my mom started giving me orders.

Being my first time, confused and scared, I decided I didn’t want to go and started crying, “I didn’t want to go”. Finally, it came time for me to go to school. Fed up with my whining, my mom literally gave me a pencil, a sheet of paper and pushed me out the door.

Sobbing I started the longest walk I ever took in my life. I really wasn't sure how to get to school, but I started walking in the direction my neighbor had taken me the day before. I was scared to death but knew I could not go back home. I walked the railroad track and it eased my fears, either way I'm doomed.

I kept walking until I finally saw the building my neighbor told me was school. I was terrified from all the commotion, people, cars and buses; it was more than I had ever seen in my life. I finally got myself calm and mustered the courage to keep walking into a world about which I had no clue.

After arriving, I just kept following folk back and forth in the halls until the bell rang. All the chaos and confusion in the halls actually calmed me, until the bell rang.

People started to disappear and that kept up until I was the only one left in the halls. Now, I stood out like a sore thumb and that's just how I felt, until an adult approached me asking where are you supposed to be. I responded, my momma sent me to school. She asked how old are you. I told her five and she told me to go home because I was too young to go to school.

Part of me was relieved and part of me was terrified because I did not know what my momma was going to say or do. The lady escorted me to the front door and I started my walk back towards the railroad track. I was happy until I got in sight of my house. My heart started beating fast and I wanted to cry because I just knew my momma was going to beat me, but you have to keep going.

I walked in the door crying and just as surprised as I was, my momma asked what's wrong. I told her they said I was too young to go to school and I was holding my breath because I just knew the beating was coming. But instead she told me to take off my school clothes and go and play. What a relief! 



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