:: how distracted one comes to be ::
i remember the day i was first taken to school. there were two lines of people waiting to be interviewed. i had not yet finished my kindergarten period and it was the third or fourth school i was taken to. the other schools were bigger, prettier, but this one, somehow, felt familiar. perhaps it was the fact that two girls i already had come to know were there as well. there was an interview. i remember taking a pencil in my now useless left hand and writing down a couple of words. the look on the interviewer's face is something i have not been able to forget. my parents decided that because of the presence of their friend's daughters it would be best for me to attend to this particular school. it meant no significant difference for me, not then at least. it was decided that i was too young to enter first grade, so i didn't. the first couple of years were frustrating, to say the least. my left hand was turned into a worthless appendix and i was taught to manage with the other one, writhing and drawing with the right hand, the wrong hand. happy faces all the time. condecorations. a bee-suit and singing "yellow submarine" with girls two grades ahead. three years later, Jacqueline, the english teacher, had asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. most of them answered "ballerina", one of my friends answered "clown"; i cannot recall what i said, i just remember i ended up in the school psychologist's office. we had a little book in which we had to write down all we had to do: homework, doctors appointments, disciplinary bulletins. it was a pile of white paper with dark blue lines across and a hard cover of the same colour. my book was always full of notes in red ink. i never showed it to my parents for they were tied up in more important assets. i was six, i lied about having to wear glasses. the new girl could draw better than anyone i had ever seen, she came from scotland, she spoke better english, got better grades, was a year older. some girls in my class had trouble reading, i always cheated. i calculated how many girls came before me and mentally read the lines i was later meant to read aloud. the good grades compensated the amount of trouble i caused. big handed bully. i went to a couple more schools and was interviewed, my parents threatened to transfer me to some place i could employ my "energy" in a healthier manner. but i could not accept that. i had an adversary i had to beat. i started paying attention to my drawing. i found that the more pressure on the pencil, the more brightness in the colour. i recall a bee, on a stencil, being filled in, ochre, brown, black, bright yellow. everyone else was playing outside, i had to finish, i had to make something special out of it. the little bulk on the middle finger grew by the second. it's still there, modestly reminding me of the simple principle revealed on a morning less than a year before first grade.
it sometimes scares me to realize that i remember more clearly what happened such a long time ago than what happens on a daily basis nowadays. time was then expanded, dilated. my father's breathing was so slow in comparison to mine. now i can't even tell if anyone apart from the one laid beside me and myself is breathing. it takes a lot of effort to get time to dilate again. but it happens sometimes, out of nowhere, a moment elapsed. a strong imprint, like the bee.
twenty years from now the story will be not of myself becoming anything, but rather of myself remembering brief breaths. will i be able to recognize myself as the little left-handed girl on that first trip to school? i certainly hope so.
repeating in my head::mamachichimama