Chapter 2: The “School”  

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“The teachers there will help you with your letters, so you can spell your name” She said sweetly. 

AFTER THE SUMMER NIGHTS turned cooler and the days started getting shorter, my aunt informed me that I would be going to school like my cousins. I had never been to a “school” before, I was scared, nervous and excited. I knew that this meant I had to be a big girl. I remember my mom telling my older brother that he had to go to a “school” and be a big boy. My brother would always tell me stories about how the teachers in “school” would be mean and send him to the office to a meaner teacher. I was afraid that this would happen to me, this made my sour milk stomach return.

One cold, chilly morning my aunt woke me up, instructing me to put on some clothes she had bought me the day before. At first, I thought my mom was here and it was time to leave, but that is when I remember that I would be going to school today. On the floor by bedroom door frame laid a stained pair of jeans, a white shirt with a red jacket. She brushed my hair into a ponytail I was told to head straight to school and come right home afterwards, if I could not listen to her rules she would slap me again, my cousins had already left and I was to walk alone. I had a blue backpack that had a small hole at the bottom with some letters sewn in yellow letters on the front.. As I walked to school, I could smell the freshness of the grass and the birds chirping to me as if they were telling me that everything would be okay. When I crossed the street, my stomach felt like a million knots, that sour milk feeling was coming back and I was not sure if I could keep it down. I did not see any other kids in the front, so I thought I was late. I ran to the front doors. I was greeted by a lady in a pink dress.

“Where is your mom?” she asked

I just stared at her, unsure of what to say. “She is at home” I finally said hesitantly.

She grabbed my hand and said cheerfully “Well, I can walk you down the hall!”

I looked down the hall of the school to see the walls were covered in colorful signs with words on them that I could not understand. The lady in the pink dress walked me down to a huge room that was called a “gym” where there were so many boys and girls, I just wanted to run away. Some were sitting on the colored lines that lay on the floor of the gym and others were still talking to their moms and dads.

When I walked into the gym, I had no idea where I was going, I squeeze the pink dress lady’s hand and she lead me to a another lady who was as around as ball and had glasses that laid at the tip of her nose. She was wearing brown pants with a white shirt, there was a silver whistle hanging from her neck and she had wrinkles on her face just my grandma.

Looking down at me from above her glasses, she said “So you are the Sona that no one can find. Go stand at the end of my line,” she said pointing to the line of boys and girls behind her.

As I walked to the end of the line, I looked around and noticed a few boys and girls crying while holding on to their moms and dads. I wish I had my mom to cry on. I saw some moms and dads giving the teachers bottles of different items, some colored boxes wrapped in plastic and some even had two colored boxes. I wish my mom were here to give my teacher something. Soon, I heard my teacher blow her silver whistle, we lined up and the moms and dads said their last good byes, some moms were even crying. I wanted to cry, because I wanted my mom to be here, I wanted her to say good bye to me. I stood in line, I tried not to stare at the crying moms.

Soon, our teacher led us out of the gym, back down the colorful wall hallway, past the office and down another colorful hallway. We entered a room that had desk with different supplies on them. The teacher explained to us that she had put our names on desk and she wanted us to try to find it. I did not know where to begin, so I just stood there terrified. I watched as some girls and boys found their desk right away, while others took a while. I could not understand the letters on the desk or how to spell my name. I did not even know what letter it started with. As the students continued to find their seats, I looked around the classroom, at the front of the classroom was a carpet with letters along its edges in different colors. The center of the carpet was blue with white clouds. The walls were covered with different words, letters and numbers that I did not recognize. I remembered my brother coming home with these different shapes and letters on his papers. I wished I had asked my brother what they were. Not paying attention to the other girls and boys, I did not realize that they had all found their seat except for me. The teacher came up to me. “Sona, do you need some help?” I just stared at her afraid to say the wrong answer. She led me to the group of desks at the front of the classroom near the carpet of colorful letters. She pointed at each letter of my name “S –O-N-A” she said. “That is your name and this is your desk.” She said happily. Looking at the rest of the class she instructed us to take out our supplies from our backpacks and put them on the middle of the table. I watched the other students take out their coloring boxes, folders of all colors and even note books. I had nothing, no one had told me to bring supplies, only a backpack. The teacher gave me a green paper that had a list of supplies that I had to give to my mom. I knew that my aunt and uncle would not get me any of this, but I did not say that to my teacher.

Throughout the day, the teachers taught us how to use scissors, color and how to say our ABC’s. The teacher would play this game with us, where we had to say the ABC’s as fast as we could. I was never wanted to play, because I knew that I would mess up and most of the other students already knew their letters before they came to school. All I wanted to do was cry, because I knew that I was not good enough.

Before lunch, our teacher instructed us to line up to go the library. We were to check out one book that we could keep in our desks for the week to read. Walking the down the hall, I was nervous because I had never been to a library before or even checked out one. A million questions came to my head, What happens if I pick out the wrong one? What happens if I do not pick one out in time? Do my other classmates know how to do this already? Do I just pick one out and walk away? Our classroom was just two doors down from the library, we walked into the library and there were books as far as the eye can see. That is when I saw the pink dress lady, I walked over to her and held her hand. She looked down at me surprised and smiled after realizing who I was. The library had to double doors that were open, to the left of the door was another lady in a yellow dress looking down at a computer. Right in front of the double doors were two couches with a table in the middle. The pink dress lady instructed my class to sit down on the couches. Squished, we all listen to her as she instructed us on how to check out books, how to take care of a book and return it for a new one. At the end of her speech, she instructed us to pick out one book that is to be returned in five days. Not afraid anymore, I picked out a book with a colorful rainbow on it. I had no idea what is was about, but I like the colors on it. After we were on done checking out, my teacher came back to get us and we walked back to the classroom holding our new books.

As we left the library, my teacher had told me that I would be going to a different classroom to help me with my letters and numbers. I had no idea what she meant, but I was afraid that she would hit me so I listened to her .

“The teachers there will help you with your letters, so you can spell your name” She said sweetly.

I was scared, but I knew I had to listen to her. She must have saw the look on my face, because she hugged me tightly and said, “Everything will be okay.” No one had hugged me like that before.

She turned her attention to the rest of the class instructing us to line up for lunch. My stomach was growling, but something was telling me that I had to wait for my mom to come before I could eat, the sour milk returned again. I knew I should not eat anything. So, I go out of line, ran to the bathroom and right into the stall.  One of the teachers assistances followed me and wanted me come out of the bathroom stall. I had told her that I could not eat yet, because my mom was not there. I started to cry and all I wanted to do was run home to wait for my mom to come home. I finally stepped out of the stall, stared at the teacher and fainted.

When I opened me eyes, there was a very bright light above me and a blanket laid over my body, I sat up and looked around. Having no idea where I was, looked out the window and saw my trailer court. I just wanted to get away and go back to that bedroom. A lady in a white dress came up to me holding a lunch tray, she said that I was hungry that is why I fainted. She told me to eat some food and I would feel better. The food on the tray was a hamburger with fries, pears and some chocolate milk. I looked at her and the food, but this time instead of listening to that little voice in my head, I decided to eat the food and it tasted really good, I ate faster.

“Now, Sona do not eat fast or you will get sick.” She said.

I slowed down, but I wanted to eat every bit of the food. Once I was done with the food, the nurse told me to walk to my classroom and she would talk to my parents. I walked down the hallway, past the library to my classroom just past the office.

My classmates were lining up to go to gym class and the teacher told me that I could go along. We walked into the gym and the teacher was a man. He had a box in his hand, for some reason my classmates go really excited and wanted him to open the box. He told us to sit in a circle in the middle of the gym and he would open it. I had no idea what was in the box and this made me very scared. He opened the box and pulled a round parachute that was stripped with different colors from red, yellow and blue. He had us hold a part of the parachute tightly. We wiggled it, making waves. We pulled it over our heads and sat on the ends, so it was like a tent. We put balls in the middle and made them fly as high as we could. I do not care about my mom, my brother, my aunt or uncle or what my aunt was going to say when she found out that I ate lunch. I only cared for this moment, because it took everything away from me, it made me feel “Normal” like I was one of my classmates.

After gym it was time to go home, our teacher gave us a bag that had candy, pencils and stickers to take home. Parents came in and out of the classroom to pick up their children, but my parents did not show up. The teacher asked me if they were coming to get me or we had to go to the office to call them. I just looked at her and simply replied “no” and walked straight out of the school, back across the street and back to the trailer house.

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