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My first life lesson

Springtime in a small rural elementary school in Fayette County, PA. I am about to turn seven. I have a few friends, but I really don't know what friendship is. I don't like school, but I'm not sure why. I'm introverted, shy, quiet and very afraid of the world around me. I feel totally exposed away from home. I wish I could be there, but I can't.

Its a rainy day; not cold but a bit chilly. The weather just broke and we children are permitted to play outside for recess. I miss the rain and the seclusion it affords me.

A group of us kindergarteners are hanging together, a sort of loner congregation. We watch the sun peek out from the white fluffy clouds, notice the moisture in the grass wet our shoes, and we do nothing because nothing is always better than something, because something might garner attention. And, as every introvert knows, attention is horrible.

There is a buzz in the crowd. Word spreads quickly and we hear of a baby duck on the school roof. We run to see, as all the children do, and stare in disbelief of the yellow fuzzy critter walking along the roof. I'm not old enough to think it, but one of the older kid says, "how did it get up there?"

The duck waddles along the edge, and looks for a way down. Perhaps its mother quacks from some distant place. I don't remember, a six year old hardly gets out of his own world. I do know one thing: I want to help the duckling.

Suddenly it falls from the roof and our entire group of loners fears for its life. We want to save it, to help it, but it's already too late; the forth and fifth grade bullies grab it and kill it before we can think to do anything.

They laugh and we cry. The more we cry, the more they laugh.

Eventually, we get it's body and we bury it as we apologize to it. We perform a ceremony and upon the ceremony's completion the bullies dig it up and disembowel it. The mustard color of its guts burn in my memories.

I feel disgust, leave the scene, and find my way to the swings where I try, unsuccessfully, to swing away the pain of the moment. 

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The Edge of Innocence

A beautiful story, with layers of meaning, almost allegorical. Powerful simplicity. The parts I liked most were where you showed us what you were feeling, rather than tell us explicitly. 'We watch the sun peek out from clouds, the moisture wet our shoes'...'the mustard colour of the guts' 'burning into your memories' and how you 'tried to swing away the pain'. You almost don't need to say you felt disgust. Its all there. Raw. The rupturing of childhood innocence. Coming to the edge and falling, just like your little duck. A really nice piece.


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Thanks. I gotta write more.

Thanks. I gotta write more. Its very healing.

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