This is another installment of a rough draft of a memoir chapter that covers fourth grade.
On my birthday, I was reading a book at the lunch table. I think it was The Long Secret, the sequel to Harriet The Spy. I was sitting by myself. My mom had let me buy lunch in the cafeteria for my birthday. I ate some chicken nuggets and tater tots and a pack of saltines that were supposed to be for people who got soup but the lunch lady gave them to anyone. I unwrapped them and started nibbling while I turned the page, devouring the words faster than my food. When lunch was over, I was almost at the end of a chapter and I kept reading, finally closing the book and running to catch up to my class.
“Emilia,” Mrs. Domaracki’s voice. I stopped and turned around. “Were you just going to leave this here?”
I couldn’t see what she meant from this far away so I went back to the table. It was the clear plastic wrapper for the soup Saltines. “I’m sorry,” I said, closing the plastic in my fist. “I didn’t see it.”
I could feel Mrs. Domaracki’s cold, hard eyes. “You and your mother told me about this before the school year even began. You can’t play that card with me.”
I looked down at my sneakers. It was February now and they had none of the pristine white of that pre-first day. Now they were gray-beige with wear and dirt.
“Are you going to tell your mom about this or should I?”
“I will,” I said, but of course I didn’t. She had never called my mom about the bathroom thing, so I thought I was safe. But this time, she called. I got sentenced with a week’s worth of two warnings. Maybe she was on some alternating system. That time she didn’t call, this time she did, maybe next time she wouldn’t again. I knew there was no way I could be good enough to not have a next time. Predicting Mrs. Domaracki’s patterns was like trying to predict what would make Mom erupt in a rage. Some days, spilling some water would do it, and on other days, worse wouldn’t bother her. These women were less predictable than the weather.
Next Segment in this Piece: Sleepovers and Upward Social Mobility
So this is an excerpt from a chapter from a project I’m working on called Eclipses of Jupiter. It’s in its infancy still, but it’s about growing up with albinism and being legally blind in my crazy family, and all the school and social implications. It’ll also focus on blind camp and related programs when I get into teenage years. This chapter, which will be broken up into installments and posted over the next few weeks, is all about fourth grade, which was a bit of an epic school year.
- The “Truth” About Me – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 1
- Instrument Analysis – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 2
- Mystery Worlds – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 3
- Bathroom Jungle Gym – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 4
- Caught in the Act – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 5
- Light as a Feather – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 6
- Dark Winter Chill – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 7
- From Secret Passages to Aliens – Truth, Lies and the Wicked Witch 8
- Driving Blind Under a Desert Moon
- Dusky Waters, Orcas Island
- Music Takes Me Back – Camp Marcella 1993
- Writing as Time Travel