Tabletop

June 13, 2009 at 6:02 PM (Uncategorized) (, , )

I am ten or eleven.  Into my first year of “mainstreaming,”

What a bullsh!t name that is.

From a leader of the pack, I was now relegated to the shoulder of the road, the “odd” one amidst the able children, who resented my brains, and in the same moment figured out my emotional vulnerability as the ‘odd one out’ and exploited it.

(For the record I scorned them plenty as well, if only internally.)

My former school had been completely integrated.

“You’ve seen a black person?” Sheer incredulity.

“Yeah.”

“What’re they like?”

Forcefully: “They’re just people!”

The refuge from being seen as a freak, or confronting their mean spirited games or their insular uninformed opinions about me or almost anyone else who ‘wasn’t like them’ was the library.

I had an odd way of reading….at home, I would kneel on the floor, with my legs folded under me in kind of a permanent quarter pushup, with my nearsighted eyes nearly hitting the book. I knew I was prettier without the glasses and so, scorned wearing them.

I think it was comfortable because it stretched out my back….it wasn’t much good for my feet though.

In the glorious library, home of all that was interesting, we had to sit in chairs and read.

One afternoon there was an empty table, and before I really knew what I was doing, I climbed up on that table, knelt, folded my legs under me and got lost in the first speculative fiction book I’d ever read, “A Wrinkle In Time.”

Shortly, authority figures arrived.  I believe their initial intent was to simply force me off the table and into the chair, but they went at it carefully, like negotiators.

“Are you really comfortable up there?”

“Yep.”

“Woudn’t you rather sit in a chair?”

“Nope.”

Then, some Einstein of elementary education got a *camera* and took pictures of me for the library wall, one showing my backside and the bottoms of my shoes and the other showing my face, looking like some refuge from the woods because my early 70’s shag was overgrown and hanging well past my turtleneck, with bangs that were truly affecting my ability to see.

They told me it was the last time I would be allowed to do that, but left me there for the rest of the reading period.

They sent my mother a copy of those pics, unfortunately.  She loved them, and keeps them in the picture album she won’t give up.

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