Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s

July 21, 2009 at 3:44 am | Posted in spiritual rantings | Leave a comment
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“Jennifer, you are a cheat and a liar.” I was standing in front of the whole fourth grade class wishing I could disappear, as my teacher, Miss Sullivan, shouted at me, shaking her plump finger in my face. The whole class sat stone-faced, watching to see if I was going to cry. I started breathing loud, fast breaths, hyperventilating, and holding in the tears. I felt totally ashamed, though the part about being a cheat was not true, I was innocent of the charges against me.

I had lied on occasion, but not today.. I lied yesterday, though, when I told my Brownie troop that Tiger Woods was my father. But I’m not a cheat, I’m thinking, as she stood at her desk and accused me.

“But, Miss Sullivan, I did dot the “i”.

“Don’t give me those innocent eyes, Jennifer. Her finger pointed to my spelling paper. “You dotted that “i” after Lisa took off credit for no dot on the “i” in “ignorant”. You sneaked in a dot. Back to your seat and don’t let me catch you cheating again.

I was ashamed and embarrassed even though I didn’t do anything wrong. For the first time my record for perfect spelling was broken and I wasn’t going to win the fourth grade weekly spelling prize. I already have an elf pin, a gnome pin and a hobbit pin. Daddy is so proud of me. He boasted to everyone that they would soon run out of the seven dwarfs.

Lisa was jealous. She never won anything which is why she took a point off me. Everyone in the class says she’s conceited with her red hair and long braids snaking down her back.

“Look, Lisa I tell her,” there’s the dot. See it? ”

“You sneaked it in after you took your paper back, Jenn,” Lisa swung her head around so fast, her braids struck me in the face.

I was so nervous heading to the front of the classroom to tell Miss Sullivan. Old fart face Sullivan with her Greta Garbo ringlets pasted on her forehead probably won’t believe me. “A liar and a cheat!” she yelled, right in front of the whole damn class .I didn’t cheat.

I started crying and ran to the coat closet with my spelling paper in my hand. I grabbed my scarf, mittens, hat and coat. I bolted out of the classroom, down the steps and out the heavy school door. I ran down Kearny Avenue carrying all my outer clothes in my arms.

“It’s freezing” I shivered, “good thing I only live half a block away.”

“Miss Sullivan called me a liar and a cheat,” I sobbed when I reached home, my

mother looking at me with abject pity.

“So, you left school?” Mother quizzed. “You just walked out?”

The telephone rang. It was Mr. Sansone the principal. My mother was talking to him in a very low voice, then grabbed her winter coat. “Come Jennifer put on your coat”

Ten minutes later we arrived at his office with Miss Sullivan.

“She called me a liar.” I cried.

“I would never call her that,” said Miss Sullivan

“Wait one minute,” admonished Mr. Sansone while perusing my spelling test. He pointed at a word on my spelling paper. Jennifer did not dot the “j” in judgment”

A minute later they were all smiling and agreeing. I get a point back for “ignorant” and lose it for “judgment.”

So I went back to my classroom with my teacher, the liar and wondered about judgment.Related articles by Zemanta

Sandy May rewrite, revised edited

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