The Robots and Meg-nolias

1 February 2011

(2 Sept 2017): I wrote this piece for an assignment in my junior year of high school. We were asked to craft an autobiography. Contained below is the original piece. I now see parts I would change: grammatical errors, rhetorical weaknesses, and most importantly, misunderstandings. Keeping it as is, I am reminded not only of parts of my preschool self, but also of parts of my high school self—beginnings of understanding, yet distant, in some ways, from who I am now.

Phew. I am finally able to be far away from the harsh sounds. I can turn into a teeny ball forgotten in the corner. This is the best time of the day. The orange and brown leaves on the page look pretty, but it’s hard to tell from the corner. I am happy imagining them to be pretty. The person holding the book has a goofy smile on her face. I have never seen her not smile, which is a little bit scary. Everyone else I know gets mad. She might be a robot. I make sure to keep my distance. I don’t know what magical powers her eyes might have if she looks into mine. I am careful to never find out. When I know she isn’t looking at me, I sneak glances to find out more about what is under the blue glass carved into her face. I am pretty sure they are cameras. They must be recording everything. Why else would she dart them instantaneously to the other side of the room? She wants to capture as much as she can. Her videos from her blue, glass camera will never be erased from her thing in her head. I can’t be in her video. If I am a ball in the corner, I won’t be.

The other people in the room like to be recorded. They keep talking about things, even when they aren’t supposed to talk. I don’t know what they are talking about. Their words don’t make sense, and their sounds pierce my ears. I become an even smaller ball in an even tighter corner. I turn my head towards the bookcase I’m leaning against. The pictures are pretty. I glance back towards the classroom, and the teacher has re-started her book with the orange and brown leaves. She tells us this is Autumn. Maybe I will start my own pile of Autumn. It will be as orange and as brown as the book shows.

Then she asks us what the other word for Autumn is. She has a different sort of smile on her face now. It bothers me. I think I’ve seen that smile somewhere. It is the same smile that Molly wore when she realized that I didn’t know what bread was. I still don’t. Back to the teacher, I think she knows what the answer is. I know the answer. There is no other word for Autumn. There can’t be two words for the same thing. That would be silly. But I won’t answer. That expression on her face is too weird. And, of course, the more time I spend as a ball in the corner, the better.

I am confused. Apparently Fall is another word for Autumn. That is simply the most outrageous thing I have ever heard. Not only is there two words for Autumn, but the word Fall also means tripping on a shoelace. That can’t happen. She is lying. I knew that smile was something weird. At least it wasn’t the same goofy smile she had when holding the book. Now I know that I can’t trust her. Especially her eyes. I smush myself even further into the corner.

The teacher says we go outside now. But we don’t actually go outside yet. The teacher likes to hang the idea of the outdoors over us until we line up the way she wants us to line up. Today she wants to do it by the colors we are wearing. Only apparently the colors we learned last week aren’t good enough for her. She must like making up words. She says that magenta is a cross between red and purple. What does that mean? Nobody is wearing a red and purple X on their shirt. There she goes making stuff up again. She finally tells the person who is wearing magenta that she is wearing magenta. I don’t see red nor purple anywhere. The color is hot pink. My mom told me that when my sister played a team that was wearing the color. The teacher likes to mess with our minds. Once we hear all the ridiculous claims about colors, we can finally go outside.

The clouds are moving fast today. I wonder if I could go with them. Probably not. I don’t think my parents would like that. As I am looking up, it suddenly feels that the clouds are the ones stationary and we are the ones moving. That is cool. Clouds are fun. The other kids race to the teeter totter. I don’t like the jolting. I don’t like the loud noises people make while they’re on it. I would rather play in the sandbox where I can look at the clouds some more. I head across the park and jump into the sand. As I pick up sand and let it fall through the hole in my hand, I continue to gaze up. We aren’t moving as quickly anymore. I liked moving faster. It was more fun. At least the sand running down my hand feels tingly.

Some other people come over. They start throwing sand at each other. I head for the slide. Nobody is using it. I crawl inside. I hear a little snap each time I put my hand somewhere else. The snaps do something to my hand which is not pleasant. When I finally get to the middle, the yellow of the slide makes my knitted sweater look different. I start whispering. The sound seems to last longer in here. I gradually get louder but then I hear the exact same noise coming from different places. Nobody else is in the slide. Where are the noises coming from? I scamper out of there before the monster mocking me decides to show his face.

I don’t know where to go. The sandbox is being used. The teeter totter is not fun. I thought I liked the slide, but the mysterious sounds were too much for me. I guess I will go sit on the bench. From out here, it looks like everyone is having fun. I can’t hear any of the harsh sounds like I usually can. They must be drowned out by the wind. I look over to the Meg-nolia Tree. It is the only tree I know. Apparently that isn’t really its name, but I like it that way. The wind hasn’t come over to the Meg-nolia Tree yet. The other trees in the park are moving more. Which tree started making the other ones move this time? I never seem to see the beginning of it. I wonder what it will feel like to see that first tree start it all. That will be a good day.

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