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Crayons This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The red of my dress was bright and unforgiving and did not express my personality; quiet, shy and gentle. Unable to look someone directly in the eye was a problem for this five-year-old on her first day of kindergarten. I did not attend preschool. I was not a pro like the other children, flaunting their sand-box skills, which were only the most important talents to own besides coloring. They gathered together, lunch boxes in hand, and waddled forward to their new lives as elementary students. I followed far behind, scared.

I twisted the end of my dress as Mrs. Fredrick placed me in my seat, next to a suntanned boy with wild blonde hair and a constellation of freckles. Alec was his name. I stared as Alec told me how many freckles he had, pointing at each one with precision: four on his face and one on his hand. He wore brown cowboy boots with horse stickers strewn all over them. I thought he was mental. Turning away from him I saw Bethany. She was what I envisioned a friend would look like. What my friend would look like. Someone who combed their hair, wore pink, smelt clean and was normal. I took kindly to her without even speaking a word. She did not point out birth marks or talk uncontrollably. This girl I liked.

The teacher announced that we would be drawing pictures, and Bethany took out her fresh crayons. Since this was my first year of school, I did not understand why my parents did not know to bring me school supplies? Even a set of broken ones would have looked better than nothing. The teacher understandingly asked the whole class to share with those who had not received supplies yet. I turned to Alec. He was busy being weird and immediately I turned to Bethany. Watching her, she picked up a red crayon.
Red. My dress. Something familiar. I smiled and asked if I could borrow a crayon. She smirked and scrunched her eyebrows. “No,” she said her tiny mouth taut. She flipped her hair making sure everyone could see her newly pierced ears, and draped it on my side, building a wall of hatred and selfishness. The rejection hurt. Gaping, I was silent. How could she be so mean? Peeping through, Bethany gave me a final look of greed as she clenched her red crayon and pounded it into the white paper. I sat with bruised emotions. Then, a familiar, freckled hand holding a box of crayons pressed into my own.
Anytime I have been tempted to judge someone based on his or her outer appearance, I remember this day. I remember the awful feeling of being rejected, and the comfort of someone not condemning me. This memory has always echoed in my mind and I am glad. I would not be so open-minded to people if it were not for the very horribly sweet little girl, or that freckled boy.




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