The situation with my family wasn’t ideal. My parents were starting to struggle with being apart for so long, and my brother and I complained every time we had to trek down to my dad’s house for the weekend. The strain was unbearable, at times. I was halfway through second grade, very much still enjoying school, when my dad came across a private school similar to the one they had us attending. This one was much closer to him, and we could all live together.
Much to my chagrin, halfway through the academic year, they pulled us out of our school and enrolled us in another. There was very little conversation with me or my brother about it. One day I was telling fantastic stories in a class full of people who weren’t really listening, and the next, I was saying goodbye and hopping in a car that would take me away from everything I found comforting. In a world without wifi, I would never talk to any of them again.
My first day of school was all kinds of awful. It was far worse than even my wild imagination could depict it to be. The school was tiny. I walked into a second-grade classroom that housed five students and a teacher wearing the brightest orange lipstick I had ever seen. In my terrified eyes, not one face seemed friendly.
I don’t remember every second of that day, two things are unforgettable: the spelling test and lunchtime.
During lunch, the other girls in my class were in the bathroom with me, putting on lip gloss from tiny tubs they had in their pockets. They asked me if I had one, and I said I didn’t like makeup. Two of them rolled their eyes and walked out of the bathroom. I followed them to lunch and sat with them, and one of them started talking amongst themselves. I couldn’t really hear them.
Finally, one of them looked at me and asked, “Are you a Blossom or a Bubbles?”
I didn’t immediately realize what they were talking about. Powerpuff Girls had just made its debut. They saw the blank look on my face and started laughing. A few seconds later, it clicked. I tried to tell them, but one of them held her hand up at me and told me it was too late. I let it go and fell silent for the rest of the break.
The other incident happened with the psycho with the orange lipstick. We came back to class after lunch, and she announced that we were having a spelling test. I didn’t know a single word. I hadn’t had time to study, and no one had informed my mom. I tried to explain that I couldn’t take it, but the teacher yelled at me and forced me to take it. Of course, I tanked harder the The Green Lantern did in the box office.
When our time was up, she snatched the paper off my desk and told me I needed to study, next time. She wrote a big red ‘F’ on the page, showed it to the whole class, and walked away. To a total nerd, this was the equivalent of someone telling me that I was getting a piece of coal for my birthday, and nothing more.
I went to the bathroom and cried until my mom came and got me.