“Just say it, as loud as you can to that big dog over there. Go on, say it! ‘I want a carrot! I want a carrot!’”
There I sat, stiffly and nervously upon an orange plastic chair that had been placed on a table top in the front of my first grade classroom. My sweaty little hands were tightly gripping both sides of the chair bottom as if the next step were spontaneous hydraulic ejection. Regardless of having no parachute in my possession, I had climbed up onto it at the request, or rather, demand, of my teacher, Mr. Hoyt. He said I was too shy.
Tiny bursts of hushed laughter popped up like Whac-A-Mole about the classroom. The tiny hushed bursts might as well have been nuclear explosions. Devastating.
My throat ached. It felt as if it were closing, stuffed with a big ball of uncooked dough that was rising by the second. The buzzing of the fluorescent lights was extra loud, as all of the students stared at me in attempted silence, waiting to hear my since hidden monotone voice for the first time.
Nana had made me wear a dress that day—a navy blue dress, with white lacing along the bottom and tiny navy anchor design across the waist. Those anchors were the only things mildly acceptable about this horrid nautical themed torture arrangement. “Oh, you look darling,” she’d say, with that strange, southern accent and seemingly smashed vocal cord sound that only really tiny people seem to share.
At least ship anchors had a logical purpose that I could comprehend, so I’d stare at them, giving my mind an imagination workout and my eyes a perfect excuse to avoid uncomfortable contact with others.
Excerpt from chapter five | Dear Mr. Fantasy | Everything’s Hunky Dory: A Memoir