It was 2nd Grade. I know it was 2nd Grade because that is the only grade I was in class with Rebecca B. She was smart, could play all the sports, had the friends and teachers adored her. She just moved here from Mississippi at the end of the last school year. I remember people asking her about the cotton fields there. She said they were messy. She didn’t like me. I’m not sure what I did to her. Maybe it was because I was an easy target. (Honestly, I still am) I was easy to pick on. Easy to make cry. I had three friends and everyone else was just mean. We didn’t call it bullying then, I don’t think I would call it bullying now. It was just what happened in life. Anyway.
I was mad at Rebecca B. She got the last poster that our teacher was handing out about the Challenger. I had really wanted one. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if everyone else in the class hadn’t already gotten one and Rebecca and I were the only two left without one. And the teacher, Ms. Kim, picked her. My face crumbled as did my heart. I wanted that dang poster. Rebecca laughed at me and told me I should have been better and I would have gotten one. ( I eventually got one. One boy in my class gave me his. He didn’t want it and felt sorry for me. Ms. Kim wasn’t happy with him. You best believe that poster hung on my wall for two years.)
Days went past and I was still mad at Rebecca B.
We sat at the same lunch table.
They teased me all the time. Rebecca being the main culprit.
One day, Rebecca got up and dumped her food tray at the same time everyone else did. I was the only one left at the table. She left a nickel sitting there. I looked around. I took that nickel! I stuck it in my pocket. Smiled a little half smile.
Rebecca came back. Rebecca couldn’t find her nickel. She immediately accused me. She went and told whatever teacher was on lunch duty. The teacher made me stand. She told me to turn all my pockets inside out. I did. I also effectively hid the nickel. In my back pocket. When they didn’t find the nickel there, she told me to pull them ALL the way out. I didn’t that again. This went on for a little while. Everyone in the lunch room was staring at me. I didn’t care. I liked Rebecca being mad. I liked Rebecca missing her nickel. Eventually, the teacher grabbed me by the arm (yep, they used to do that) and plopped me down in front of the office. I was not to move until that nickel was located. I sat there a long time. The principal was actually too busy to deal with my nonsense.
Eventually, Ms. Kim came to get me. She sat down next me to and actually asked me if I took the nickel. I told her I did and handed it to her. She asked me why. I didn’t answer. She already knew why. She walked me back to class. She didn’t give Rebecca back her nickel.