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New Memoir Tuesday. This weeks challenge;  Remember kindergarten. If, after thinking about it for a while, you can’t recall anything, move on to first grade. Mine your memories and write about the earliest grade you can recall. What was special? What was ordinary? What did you feel? Hear? See? Smell? Immerse yourself in crayons, chalk dust, and those tiny milk cartons and then come back on Tuesday, March 29th and link up.

All concrit is welcome and helpful.

Sneaking peeks out the window at the ‘tower,’ two tractor tires stacked on top of each other, reachable only by a wide plank, I rush to finish the math workbook page from the learning station I picked. Tommy and I promised to run super fast and get there before Dave and Teddy. Tommy brought his action figures that we won’t even be able to play with, unless we get inside the tower where the winter wind blowing off the Midwest tundra can’t freeze our fingers into useless sticks.

I search the large classroom for Teddy and Dave to see what station they are at, and if they are almost done. The large windows along two of the walls show me stark branches of hibernating Black Walnut trees and steel-gray sky dotted with crows. These buildings were once part of a church and the teachers got them for super cheap when they decided to open up a school where the students go at their own pace. This is a big deal because the adults are always talking about it.

Teddy’s red head is bent over what looks like a spelling worksheet but Dave is nowhere to be seen. The tops of my feet start to itch and I can’t stand it. I shove my math in the folder without even double-checking it and run to grab my coat. Jamming my arms into the sleeves, my fingers momentarily get tangled in the string that keeps the mittens together. I yank on my hat and wrap my new orange birthday scarf around my neck twice like I’m supposed to.

The metal bar on the door is so cold, that my skin sticks to it as I shove it open and race out into the frozen wild of our playground. Focusing only on the board that I have to climb, I barely notice everyone else flooding out to play while waiting for carpools.  Behind me, I hear Tommy yelling, “Go, go, go!” Dave’s hurdling towards me, but his scowl tells me he knows he’s not going to make it.

As I scramble up the board, my laughter leaves a trail of small clouds, breadcrumbs of joy. My right foot suddenly slides out from underneath me. I hold on and don’t fall, but my chin slams into the top corner of the board and my face goes numb.  The muted colors of the Indiana winter are now decorated with large crimson Rorschach blotches.  A warmth spreads down my neck and chest. The sudden winces and grimaces on the faces surrounding me broadcast just how badly I’m hurt. Dave, not stopping, turns and races back inside returning with Stephanie, one of our teachers who has sparkly blue eyes and silver in her sandy blond hair. Without asking, she lifts me up off the tower and applies pressure to my chin. Concern has darkened her eyes and tightened her mouth. Once inside she replaces the blood soaked towel with a new one. I’m on her lap and her right arm is surrounding me while holding the towel in place.

“That’s going to need some stitches,” says Stephanie. “I know you’ll be brave when we get to the hospital.”

The sound of chaos underscores how big a deal this is. But as Stephanie’s body warms mine and she tells me tales about brave girls, I ignore it all to learn the lessons of warrior princesses and think tomorrow we should play that instead of action figures.