Kindergarten + Playground = Education
My classmates are jumping around in and out of my face, in a dancing, clown-like way. They’re all laughing and pulling at the corners of their eyes.
I crinkle my nose and squint my eyes, as I pull my head back, and wonder to myself, What are they doing? They look and sound so silly.
I look behind me. I look around me. I feel confused. Why are they doing that?
I feel something in my chest sink. Something about this hurts, but I’m only five years old, and I can’t make sense of it.
So, I just laugh. Not because I think they’re funny, but because I guess that maybe I should laugh, too, so that I at least look like I get the joke, even though I have no idea what’s going on.
* * *
Once I get home from school, I race to the bathroom, because I’ve been holding it since afternoon naptime.
I flush the toilet and go to the sink to wash my hands. I step up onto my little stool so I can reach the faucet. I turn the water on, and happen to glance at the mirror.
As I catch a glimpse of my reflection, I am surprised by what I see.
I splash some water on my face. I try to smile. I hurry down off of my step stool and slap the light off.
All of a sudden, what happened at school during recess begins to make sense. And I realize that the other kids on the playground weren’t talking to me—they were making fun of me.
* * *
After five short years of living, a kind of harsh light began to crawl out from underneath its rock.
That day on the playground, it flexed its shoulders and pushed up the rock until the rock stood on edge.
The light quivered a bit, and then gave the rock one last heave.
The rock tumbled back and landed with a thud. The light began to pour itself out into the open.
That kind of light does not know how to lie. It is brazenly honest.
When I got home from school that day, the light had followed me home. It hit the mirror, and for the first time in my life I became uncomfortably aware that somehow I was never going to be like all the other kids.
I had begun my education.
That day I learned that grown-ups don’t know what they’re talking about when it comes to words. That day I learned that words hurt more than sticks or stones ever could.
* * *
[Click here to read the entire series on "Growing Up as a KAD"]