“I didn’t become an artist. As long as I can remember I always have been one.”
I don’t like school. I don’t fit in. The rest of the kids make fun of me. Why am I always left standing by myself when they choose teams for sports? Why do the captains argue in front of everyone because they don’t want me? But then, why do they always fight to sit by me and force me to let them copy my test paper when the teacher isn’t looking? Why do I feel so…alone?
The other day, Leon, one of the captains was playing foursquare at recess and a boy scored a point against him and Leon suddenly started hitting him in the face over and over again. Why did I feel terribly sick watching Leon’s empty eyes as he turned the smaller boys face into a bloody pulp. How could Leon suddenly stop and go to another game and start playing as if nothing had happened? Why did he never get in trouble? Why are the teachers afraid of him too?
Another thing, why did my teacher give me an “F” and write big red lines all over my paper because I didn’t use “standard writing”? She didn’t like my pretty curls and circles that make my cursive writing different. She told me I had to write just like everybody else. I wonder, Mom, why do I have to write like Leon? I don’t want to.
Oh yeah, and why can’t I square dance in physical education? Why do I have to tell Coach Johnson that I’m not allowed to dance because it’s against my religion? Why do I feel so lonely when I’m sitting there by myself while everyone else is having so much fun? Why do I feel so, how do the long-haired kids say it…square?
I love to fly, though. The first day of summer is the best day of the year. The wings sprout from my back and I run in circles until the air propels me and schwoop, suddenly I’m up to seventy feet. I see East Lake Park far below, the pond, my school, empty and hot. My shadow moving across the ground like a ghostly vapor. Flying over our house, I realize how small it is compared to the great big world that surrounds it. Roads leading here and there. I feel them calling and know I will soon follow them to wild adventures that now I only dream about. Soaring and dancing in the air with the wind at my face, I feel so free.
As I circled my home far overhead, I wondered what would happen, Mom, if you suddenly came out to hang the washing and looked up. Somehow, I doubt if you or Dad know I can fly. And that someday I will fly away forever. On weary wings, I flew back to the park and drifted down. There was a sudden jolt beneath my feet and I kept running while my wings and body adjusted and came back to earth.
Exhausted and shaking, I walked back home, my wings safely sheathed beneath my shoulder blades until next summer. I quickly found a piece of paper and crayons and began to draw the vibrant greens of the park, the curls of the leaves, and the yellows and circles of the algae-filled pond. I looked up and it was tomorrow.
I like summer. I don’t want to go back to school.