My teacher put it there.
I know she drew it on my hand because I had a good day and this was her way of communicating that to my mother.
I wasn’t that impressed with the prize, especially when I had no idea what I had done to deserve it.
I suppose I hadn’t yelled at anyone that day. I distinctly remember one instance when I told a group of girls, “You think you’re just so smart because you’re in Ms. Otto’s class!”.
They looked at me like I’d grown two heads. But, what ELSE do you say to girls who flock together and don’t let anyone else into their group?
Cute hair, cute ribbons, cute clothes, cute dimples…
I did not fit in.
I didn’t really want to, though. I didn’t have any desire to play dolls, or house at recess, which is what they did. I preferred to play with the boys. Dodge ball, kickball, tag, etc.
Though the boys never excluded me, I knew I was doing the "wrong" thing. Boys weren't going to invite me to slumber parties, or skating parties, or ask me to sit with them at lunch.
I understood that I didn't really fit in most places. My teacher had issues with me, the girls avoided me, the boys tolerated me...I knew this.
Then, one day, I got an admirer all my own...
In my wranglers and button down shirt, I walked up to the librarian and said in a very proper tone because he was the librarian, “Excuse me, but would you have any books by Rudyard Kipling?”.
After he survived his heart attack at hearing that come out of the mouth of a first grader, I became the twinkle in his eye. He didn't need me to be a boy, or wear ribbons, or listen.
I was fine just as I was.