A Loving Education

Grade One

The room was bright. There were lights, windows, colorful walls, and eye catching carpet. Maybe it was a little too cheerful. I did not spend much time observing the d├ęcor. Why should I? It was the same old thing, another toy, another game, and another distraction.

Perhaps I walked into the room a bit timidly - I don't remember. The fact remains that it was the tape player that transfixed me. Some might have said 'it's just another tape player'. But no, this was not simply a tape player. All I had to do was put the blue headphones on, press play, and - voila - the book was read to me. I loved it, and it was all mine.

One day I wasn't alone; another girl had joined me. She wanted to listen to the tape player too. We traded names and with that simple exchange became friends. "Friends Forever," we promised.

Does anyone remember the days when friendships were that simple? All we had to do was put on our happy smiles, press play, and - voila - instant friendship.

Innocence is such a beautiful thing.

Grade Two

It was free time: I had a mission. I needed to find Max and Emily. After I found them, we faded into our corner. Bouncing with excitement I bombarded them with my idea: a plot for book six of The Cat Family. This time Jenifer would get lost in the pet store. And then Max would accidentally take another cat home . . .

As we lost our grip on reality free time fell into a comfortable bliss. It was us and the story. We giggled while we scribbled the words. We smiled as we handed our only copy to Ben so he could draw us pretty pictures. Beaming with pride, we showed our teacher the next volume of our long standing series. It was done. The book was published. It was official. We were happy, not just with the book, but with each other.

There is such thing as perfect friendship - it's found in children.

Grade Three

Kids change when they enter third grade. At least we did. It was slight, but it was there. We had become the big kids on the playground. With that maturity came a certain sacrifice: we were not all friends anymore. There was the disliked and the popular. There were the fads.

One fad was the Bop It.

Thanks to my birthday I had the fortune to receive - not only a Bop It - but a Bop It Extreme. Recess changed. I wasn't the odd kid out anymore. Rather, now that I was the only one to have Bop It Extreme, I was the cool one. Recess after recess we would sit in a circle and play Bop It. I enjoyed the attention.

It didn't last long. Once Cassie had her own Bop It Extreme a week later, no one wanted to play with mine. I was rejected. I held my slightly scratched but wholeheartedly degraded toy in hand.

What is acceptance worth anyhow?

More than it should be.

Grade Four

Boy - girl relationships were taboo in fourth grade. That doesn't mean I didn't have one. Sure, we did both lie about it, but the facts remain. His name was Daniel, and I was stupid. Maybe I've wised up some though, because I understand it all in retrospect.

Why did I say yes? Because I was desperate for love.

What really happened? He cheated on me.

Some might say that it was just another elementary relationship. But it wasn't. I don't think that 'just another elementary relationship' could scar my perception of love forever.

If love is what he had felt for me, then what is love?

Grade Five

But life prevailed - as it always does. Alone and desperate, I scrambled to recollect what little love I had left over. I tried being kinder, showering everyone with attention and praise.

My success can be read in one note:

the girl you once knew as your friend is gone
she isn't coming back
so don't try
your x-best friend
erin

There could never be something as eternal as love in something as fatal as friendship.

Grade Six

All I could do was cry.

My mother and I had fought. Again. And it never mattered how in the right I believed I was, I still would cry.

Ashamed of my tears and banished to the safety of my room I started my math. Math is a painkiller. It takes so much energy to solve the problem that I am able to forget why I am sad. It always works.

My relationship with my mother simply was another math problem. One that I couldn't solve. We had always fought, and we always would. Why?

It didn't matter how much I tried to hide from the glairing truth, I know the reason why. Why do I fight with my mother? Because I am angry with her. Why am I angry? Because I know that she can not love who I really am.

I fight with her because I can't face the truth: a mother's love isn't permanent.

Grade Seven

Five minutes into class and I was bored. That was the way it tended to be nowadays. Of course I was bored. Why should I sit and listen to some old hag babble when I had places to explore?

Without too much difficulty I spaced out and entered my mental nook. It was the place I could retreat too for the sake of excitement or comfort. It was my own world, it was my imagination. It was perfect. It was mine. And it didn't exist.

During the class I made up a new friend for myself. He was my invisible friend, but he was real enough for me. We would walk and we would talk. We would explore and we would question. But that 'we' was only ever an extension of me. I was a resourceful child, and I knew there was no love left for me in reality. In retaliation I made up my own.

Have you ever wanted love so bad that you were willing to make your invisible friend your lover?

Grade Eight

For some silly reason my mother had said yes. Should her darling daughter be sent to counseling? Of course she should. The teacher had suggested it. After all, teacher knows best.

What was my illness? Apparently, if there is an odd child out, the child is seen as though they have a problem. It is something my teacher viewed worthy of counseling.

I talked to her though, my mother by my side.

I told the truth. Or a cleaner version of it. I knew that silence wouldn't get me out of there. Neither would lies. I had to leave, and I had to give her problems to overanalyze. I gave her a simplistic variation of my reality. I spun my half truths for the session.

Time was out; my sentence was served. I jumped out the door in time to heard her say "You are loved. I care about you!" It was beautiful. I wanted to believe.

The next week came. My hopes were up. Maybe I really was loved and maybe I'd tell the truth. Maybe I could relearn how to feel loved.

However when I skipped into the room, I found her searching her files. I waited for her to be done. She studied my face and studied her files. With her look I knew: she could not remember my name.

If that is love, then love is a little sick.

Grade Nine

I can't remember what the event was. But whatever the occasion, the moment turned out perfect. My boyfriend and I were enclosed in our own private, separate world. We were lost far beyond reality. The moment lasted no lasted longer than half a second, but it lingered on the beauty of eternity.

It was the perfect kiss

No fireworks. No passion. Just a realization:

i am loved

Author's Note:

Just a little piece wrote for a class. I'm fond of the way this one turned out, so read at your own leisure.
I hope you enjoyed!