I've always liked shiny things
In first grade I wanted to experience it all. I wanted to write my numbers all the way to 100. I wanted to jump on the trampoline and recite my words. I wanted to make a J that actually curved the right way at the bottom. But more than anything else, I wanted a charm bracelet like my friend's bracelet.
My friend would leave twice a week and go with a pretty lady that I didn't know and when he returned, he would have a new charm on his charm bracelet. While he was gone, I continued to write my numbers. The 60s really screwed me over, man. Those sixes are hard to write when you're only seven.
One day, I cornered him. First, I asked him to just give me the bracelet. Maybe I was a bully. Like a true first-grade friend, he told me to get my own.
Well, sure... that's easier said than done. I didn't even know how he got the bracelet in the first place; how could I even get one of my own?
"Why do you leave with her?" I asked, eager to plot my acquisition of a charm bracelet of my very own.
"She teaches me how to say my words right. I don't say the right words." Except when he told me that, it didn't sound like that one single bit because he had a speech impediment. It was more like... well... I don't know how to write how it really was.
Basically, if I could not say my Rs or lisps my Ss, I could have had a charm bracelet. But, that's not how I understood it.
I understood it to mean that he didn't say the right words. I understood it that way because I was seven years old and because I was a very literal thinker.
Later in the year, the same woman who came and took my friend and bejeweled him for a great speech-therapy session, came into the classroom to screen all of us.
I sat in my desk not writing my 60s (I was not a quick study), excitedly waiting my turn. I had a plan, and I just knew it would lead me to a charm bracelet of my own. Finally, she called my name.
I very carefully and very slowly walked to her table, smiling like a tween at a One-Direction concert. I sat down and folded my hands directly in front of me.
"Hi," she said extending her hand to shake mine, "I'm Mrs. Blah-blah. Blah blah blah. Blah. Blah blah blah." I have no idea what she said because I was going over my plan in my head. "So, here's the first picture. Can you tell me what it is?"
Here was my chance to not say the right word. The picture was a pig. I knew that much. I sighed and mustered up my courage to carry out my plan and I said, "That is my mom." Then I smiled. Nailed it. Everyone knows that the right word was "pig"; the wrong word could have been anything but "pig," and I chose to say "my mom."
"What?" she said, "Look again."
I smiled. I nodded. I said, "That's my mom."
She shook her head and held up another card. "That's my house," I proudly said incorrectly. She looked at the picture of a motorcycle and then scribbled something on her steno pad. She furrowed her brow and flashed another card: a rotary phone.
"That," I boasted, knowing I was just moments away from earning a charm bracelet right then and right there, "is a bowl of chili." Ha! That was SO not the right word. Gawd! I was GOOD at this.
Mrs. Blah-blah sighed and wrote something down again. She thanked me for my time and sent me to my seat. I spent the rest of the afternoon and all night long envisioning the bracelet danging on my wrist. I would probably be 43 karat gold and it would probably have 93 charms on it.
I was sitting at my desk the next day when my teacher called me to the hallway and I met Mrs. Such-and-so. I was never good with names.
"Hi, Heather," she said as she took my hand and led me from the classroom. "I'm the counselor, and I want to talk about why you think you live in a motorcycle."
I never got a charm bracelet.
Heather Davis is Minivan Momma