Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The "invisible" kids

It was getting toward the end of lunch and I wanted ice cream. But I decided against it. I was eager to get out of the lunchroom and out on the playground before “they” came.

They usually came down after everyone else had eaten and we usually didn’t see them, but sometimes we did because we were sixth graders and the last group to eat. Although we tried not to, we stared in morbid fascination as they went through the serving line. There was the dark-haired girl with the very large head and very large body. There was a boy with a lopsided face that looked as if part of it had collapsed. Another boy had a large round body and a very small head. But the worst was the girl with the purple face: half her face was the color of blueberries and she walked with two crutches to support her mature but disproportionate torso.
In fact, they all had adult bodies but we didn’t know why. To us they were kids because they went to our school. But no one ever talked about them. They just appeared at lunchtime and disappeared after. They may well have been a classmate or neighbor’s sister or brother, or more likely, aunt or uncle, but no one I knew claimed to know them and no one talked about them. We kids certainly didn't, even among ourselves. We just pretended they didn’t exist, and were secretly grateful not to be one of them.

One day my teacher asked me to deliver a note to "Mrs. Smith." I didn't know Mrs. Smith so I asked where I was supposed to go. Her room was just around the corner and down the hall from ours.

I went and knocked on Mrs. Smith's door. When she opened it, I was amazed to see the boy with the small head and the girl with the purple face. They and the others were sitting at desks. There was writing on the blackboard and books and papers on tables and shelves. Special equipment was lined up against the walls but it was definitely a classroom, and Mrs. Smith was their teacher.

Who were these "kids"?

Sadly, no one ever told us, and we never dared ask.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Är du svensk? Det går även alldeles utmärkt att skriva kommentarer på svenska!/Comments in Swedish are also welcome!