Monday, March 28, 2011

First Day

In the Autumn of 1983, a five-year old me entered Kindergarten. My father parked the red Chevy Caprice Classic along the curb of the steep hill adjacent to school. My sister and I clambered out of the car after saying our quick goodbyes to Daddy. He was headed to work at the chemical plant; my big sister was in charge of leading me by the hand to Mrs. D’s kindergarten class. With my left hand in her right and our homemade corduroy book bags slung over the opposite shoulders, we crossed the threshold into our first day of the school year.

My young heart skipped a beat. Where many in my place were nervous, I was brimming with excitement. My sister was in my place this time last year. I knew the school, I knew the teacher. I had nothing to fear. But as I looked into the expectant eyes of the teacher and that comforting grip on my hand began to loosen, my confidence waned.

I could not hear the cheerful welcome from Mrs. D.

My heart, giddy only moments before, fell into the pit of my stomach.

I felt the last, light brush of my sister’s fingertips and she pulled away. I watched her bounce down the tile, cinder-block walled hallway and around the corner towards the first grade classroom. My brown eyes began to fill with tears.

A touch on my shoulder jolted me back to reality. I finally heard her voice.

“Good morning, Julie! It is so nice to have you today.”

I glanced briefly at Mrs. D. Her eyes sparkled with kindness, her smile was warm. My eyes scanned the room, quickly taking inventory of the colorful posters, the plethora of books, the green chalkboard exclaiming, “Welcome to kindergarten!” in the unmistakable hand of a teacher. I inspected the wooden easel, splattered with years of drips from classes past. Kindergarten looked okay… but I still wasn’t sure. I felt small, alone. I longed for the comforting grasp of my sibling’s hand.

Then I saw her - my best friend. The one person I knew so well. She was happily chatting with girls we knew from church while her hands rhythmically slid the red beads on the abacus back and forth. She looked up, she grinned at me. My heart skipped a beat once again.

This was going to be a great year.

This is my first submission to the Red Dress Club! Please comment and let me know what you think.
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