When I was in kindergarten, I peed my pants at school.
It was our Arts and Crafts period. It was the end of the day. I wanted to finish my painting. I had to finish it. But my tiny, five-year-old bladder couldn’t take it. When I was five years old, that was the most horrific thing I could imagine happening.
“Why didn’t you ask to go to the washroom?” My teacher asked.
“Because…Because…” I said in between sobs, “I just wanted to finish my painting.”
When I was in grade two, I caught the stomach flu. Twice. In a row. The birth of my emetophobia. I thought I would never get better. I thought I would be stuck.
“I wonder if I’ll still be afraid when I’m ten,” I thought to myself one sunny afternoon. “What about when I’m thirteen? Or sixteen? Or twenty? No, I won’t be the same person when I’m twenty. No one is.”
One day in grade three, my teacher wrote me a note.
This is a wonderful story. You have developed your idea very well. You use a lot of “book language.”
Love, Mrs. D.”
I kept that note in my childhood journal. That note inspired me to continue writing.
On the last day of grade five, I was excited, even though I knew graduating fifth grade meant leaving all my friends behind. My school only went up to grade five. But even if it had gone up to grade eight, like most elementary schools, my family moved.
“We’ll still be best friends, right?” I asked my friend Jenn as we sat on the field for our last recess.
“Of course we will. I promise.”
You make a lot of promises you don’t know if you can keep as a kid.
On my first day of grade six, I was sick with a throat infection. I had a fever all day. Mom didn’t believe how sick I was, so I went to school anyway. I spent three hours in the walk-in clinic after class. The excitement I felt in grade five mutated into a sad fear of the unknown. I had gone from knowing every single person in my tiny elementary school, to knowing no one in a grade six to eight school of 800 people.
In grade seven, I transferred schools for half a day. I couldn’t handle it. The next day, I went back to my old middle school.
In grade eight, the boundaries changed for my subdivision and I moved schools again. I made two friends there in my grade eight class. We go to the same university now. We’re still friends.
During the fall of my grade nine year, for the first time ever, a boy acknowledged my existence. I liked him. Maybe just because he was the first boy to ever acknowledge my existence. Maybe because he was a skateboarder, and skateboarders were cool back in 2006. He had dark brown hair and muscular arms, and wasn’t too tall and wore the coolest shoes from West 49. He met my best friend, Anna, and a week later, he asked her out. She said yes.
In grade eleven, my other best friend, Sam, broke up with her boyfriend who was also my friend. I could never understand why she was jealous of my friendship with her now ex-boyfriend, until one day, while either drunk or high, he confessed he had feelings for me. I avoided him after that. I didn’t tell Sam until years later.
On the last day of grade twelve, my friend Katie and I sat on top of a grassy hill overlooking the parking lot of our high school. We sat there the entire day. I skipped all my classes. What could they do? It was the last day of school. I was eighteen. I was an adult. Or so I thought. So we all thought.
© Lauren Macri, I’m Fine, Stop Asking, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lauren Macri and I’m Fine, Stop Asking with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
I also would like to give credit to this format to Sherman Alexie’s short story “Indian Education.”