It was a confusing, wild blur in the first year of real school. It was meant to be an exciting fun time of creating and learning. But our reception teacher was a young woman named Miss Hessfield.
I remember one time, I asked her ever-so-nicely to come and see the bright picture I had painted of my house. I was really proud of it; it had taken me ages to get the right colour for the bricks. I tugged at her pink skirt, and begged repeatedly for her to come and see. She gave me a sweet smile, and gingerly removed my grubby hands from her clothes, and limply took them in her own. Miss Hessfield flinched when she discovered they were covered in thick gooey red poster paint. She tenderly patted my head with her other immaculately nailed hand, and brought out her best babyish voice. "Not now, Andrew dear, I have to go and get the books ready for this afternoon. You go and paint another pretty picture for me. Maybe an animal this time?" She pushed me back towards the table, and then bustled off quickly.
The teacher muttered angrily as she tried to scrub the handprints off her skirt with the horrible Jasmine soap I always hated, then rinsed her hands in the metal corner sink. Her face collapsed into a glower, and her eyes flashed icy sparks at me. She ignored the other children's pleas for attention, carelessly ruffled a few waist height heads and proceeded to read a battered paperback on the 'Good Kid' sofa, high heeled boots kicked off and holed-stockings resting on the number-shaped cushions.
Left to my own devices, I drank my entire cup of paint water. She screamed at me as I gagged at the vile taste. The others looked on, their eyes wide and their mouths agape. Whilst she dragged me forcefully to the toilets, the flushed woman constantly berated me. I was forced into the cubicle just in time, my wrists bruised. As my first tears fell, she gave a small scream of exasperation, and shoved a cup of water into my chest, telling me to swill. I didn't understand. Desperately trying to stop my wailing, she whispered silly little nothings and rubbed my back, making me feel worse. In the end, I managed to drink some water, and when we returned to the class, she began the English lesson in her snowy soft reading voice as though nothing had happened.
I remember that being the beginning of it all; the change, the start of all the trouble, my revolution. I ripped the picture.