Fisherville, Michigan, U.S.A. – 1976/1977
I’m in the third grade at St. Anthony of Padua school. It is art time. I don’t draw horses or cars or houses like the others. I draw the stone moai of Easter Island. I saw them on In Search of, which is my favorite television show. My heads, though, are lopsided, the features of the faces crooked. I have colored outside of the lines again. The Teacher has stopped trying to help me make my art acceptable, because it is hopeless. But I have other problems that need fixing. I never know what they are until she pulls me into the hall and screams at me loud enough for everyone to hear. It’s my bad handwriting, or my nail biting, or my daydreaming, or my constant silence. Or. There are so many things wrong with me. And now the other kids know it. I wish I was invisible again, like I was before I started the third grade.
I retreat further into myself, away from the hate that I feel radiating toward me. There is a scream inside me that wants to come out. If it does, it will never stop. I look out of the window and go There. I am now on Easter Island, walking along the windy cliffs, among the moai, those mysterious remains of a civilization that vanished without a trace.
I look up at those vacant windows. No lonely child gazes down at me. The building hasn’t been used as a school for decades.
It was not as easy as moving across the country or the world. No matter where I went, those specters tagged along with me, dragging me down. I had to extract their claws, one by one.
At this moment, I feel oddly serene. The name of the school is written in Polish, something that I never before noticed. Those trees and bushes weren’t there in the 1970’s. It is a lovely old building.
I’ve finally escaped.