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No, we don’t forget

published: 2014-04-12

I hear a child screeching. The high pitch is laced with low tones coming from somewhere in his gut. He sounds like a wild animal.
I look outside. It’s a beautiful day.
I see how this toddler boy is watching a slightly smaller toddler girl leave. She is hanging on to the teacher’s hand as they walk away. She runs in that uncoordinated way kids do who have only just learned to walk run. Her curls bounce up and down in delight, unaware of the boy’s despair behind her. Her mind is elsewhere, on putting one foot after the other.
The boy clutches his dinosaur and roams back and forth, in corners and circles, so wanting to chase after her. But trapped.
His own teacher sweeps him up and says, “say bye-bye now!” which only makes things worse. She then points at an airplane in the sky. He holds his moans for a few seconds, and then they return. His teacher is now attending to other kids and I watch him for a while. He wants to throw his dinosaur down but then decides against. Finally, he nestles himself in a corner of the playground while sobbing and looking at the air around him in confused despair.
I thought to myself: this is the way these things go. He’ll forget.
I remember how I held my sister’s hand as we walked across a playground into our new school. Suddenly, my sister let go of my hand and took one of the teachers’. They were nuns. Without looking back she followed the teacher to her classroom. I panicked. I was lost in a strange new world. I too held on to a toy. It was a stacking toy with plastic rings which went from big to small.
No, we don’t forget.

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