You knew you were in trouble the instant you stepped off the platform. You should probably have wiped the sweat off your hands and ditched the back pack before attempting the monkey bars. But it was too late for that now as you hung slipping from the second bar. All you could think of was the way Allison would laugh at you when you fell. The entire scenario played out in your mind before your fingers lost purchase on that stupid yellow cylinder and you fell into a heap on the ground. Sure enough, you could hear Allison’s high pitched giggle even before the dust settled.
“Look at Freaky Fannie! She can’t even make it half way across!”
You stood up and ran, wiping tears from your eyes and gravel from your hair. Off to the corner of the play ground, to your usual perch on an exposed root of the maple tree. Thoroughly miserable, you pulled a book from your bag and pretended to read. Your bum hurt where it had hit the ground and you could use a Kleenex. Wiping your nose on your sleeve, you wondered why you weren’t built like all the other girls. Your short legs couldn’t run very fast and your skinny arms were no good at the monkey bars. That would be fine if you were cute like the others, but your fuzzy hair and big front teeth just added to the number of ways the others could exclude you.
Sure, you could read better than any of them and painted pictures that actually looked like something. But what did that matter? That didn’t win you any friends now. Your mother kept telling you that one day all your special talents would take you farther than fast feet and shiny hair ever could. Big deal, you’d think. A long road is just lonely without friends.
The bell rang. You stood up and started the long walk back to the door. You hoped Teacher wouldn’t ask you to answer anything today; that would just make things worse. Maybe there would be art today and you could create your own world on the easel. That would be better, you thought. Scrunching up your courage you joined the end of the line and went inside to start another day in grade five.