I am afraid of the doctor. They put you in a room with happy Peter Pan or circus wallpaper, then stick you with needles. I am fast, so I run away. Every time. I don’t think they like me.
There is an aquarium full of fish in the lobby. I pass it every time I bolt out of the office. I almost made it out the door once, on a particularly good day, but my mom caught the hood of my jacket as I flung open the door and smelled freedom. I felt the tug and realized I was caught in her tractor beam. The door closed. Back through the lobby, into the examining room, where I sat on the table, sullen, while the nurse glared at me and pulled out a syringe. I started to cry. Ouch. Over. Sore.
I start second grade, and the teacher, Ms. Pondiscio, is an angel. She is happy, cheerful, encouraging. Questions are good, she says, but I am too shy now. I have gotten used to remaining silent. I do not want to call attention to myself. She likes me anyway, and I appreciate that and like her in return. I am healthier this year.
At the end of the year, we move to a new town. I am worried but not sad as the car pulls out of the driveway and I look up at the house we are leaving.
The new house has a large backyard, with woods and a stream in the back, and huge pine trees that sway in the breeze. It has just one floor instead of two, and there is no playroom, but my parents say the schools are better, and who can argue with that backyard? I finish second grade at a new school, meet some kids who live in my neighborhood, and then it is summer and I forget all about my old friends.