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That day back in third grade will probably haunt me for the rest of my life. And to think that it started out like any other ordinary day…
Can the clock move any slower? I thought to myself. The clock read 11:55, meaning there were just five minutes separating me from recess. It was agonizing waiting for the clock to strike twelve. I was slumped down in a chair towards the back of the classroom. My teacher was rambling on and on about something that wasn’t interesting enough to capture my small third grade attention span. It didn’t help that according to the classroom thermometer it was 98 degrees. The beads of sweat running down my forehead were misdirected as a cool breeze tantalized me through the window.
“Okay class, time for recess. Come and line up by the door.” I shot out of my seat as if I had hot peppers in my pants. I became a blur of motion as I sped to the front of the line.
“Nick, what have I told you about running in the classroom?” my teacher said.
“Uh, sorry, Ms. Eloconie,” I muttered.
“It’s alright Nick, but go to the back of the line. You’re door holder this week.” Great, I thought. Just more time keeping me from being in the garden. I grumbled as my classmates filed past me into the sunlight. Finally, after the last kid in my class passed me I sprinted as fast as I could into the garden. I was sure I was about to break into hyper speed when someone shouted my name.
“Nick, you haven’t forgotten about your bench time, have you?” said Ms. Eloconie in that same monotonous tone that every teacher reserves for dishing out punishments. I assume that judges also use the same tone when sentencing criminals to jail time. I sighed as I sat down on the bench housing the other delinquents of the 3rd grade. I was convinced teachers had a way to slow down time while you were serving bench time so that every minute turned into an hour. I was thinking about how the teachers could do this when someone tapped me on the shoulder.
“Nick, your free to go,” Eloconie “the horrible” said.
“Yes!” I yelled as I bolted off the bench. Two boys from another class who had also just been liberated started chanting “Freedom.” I surveyed the garden, trying to decide where to spend my precious recess time. I ended up on the basketball courts, where some of my friends were playing catch.
After only five minutes of playing I had worked up a sweat, the sticky salt running down my face and stinging my eyes. My friends and I had decided that just playing catch wasn’t “extreme enough,” so we started a game where one person throws the ball as far as he could and the other person had to try to catch it. It was my turn to catch it. I could feel my heart beating like a bass drum in chest, as my friend got ready to throw. My feet pushed me forward as soon as my friend released the ball. Beads of sweat flew off my hair like rain running off a roof. My eyes were fixated on the ball, which was in a tight spiral. The ball was beginning its decent now, my arms strained out to greet it. The ball was almost in my grasp; I was going to catch it!
BAM! I slammed into the metal post of the basketball hoop with the sound of a gong being hit. As my forehead slid down the post as I heard a sound like paper being ripped out of a notebook. It felt like a hundred angry snakes were clamping down on my forehead. My head whiplashed back as if I was in a car that had just been stopped short. There was a deep tingling in my forehead, as if ants were crawling through my veins. Finally gravity set in as my whole body weight sent my head crashing down to the ground in a crunch. I lay there for a moment, then, dazed and confused, got up. As soon as my friend saw me his face contorted into an expression of pure horror. Then he let out a scream that sliced through the air like a butcher knife going through lunchmeat. I put my hand to my forehead, thinking that maybe my forehead had swelled up a lot. However, when my hand reached my forehead I didn’t feel a bump. Rather I felt something warm and sticky, as if I had fallen into a puddle of warm oil. I examined my hand. It had a deep scarlet liquid on it. Then I realized what it was. It was blood. It was a strange relationship. No less than ten minuets ago I hate a burning hate for my teacher, but now I felt that she held my only chance of survival. I screamed a scream that only a dying animal could make as I sprinted towards my teacher. The blood from my forehead had slowly dripped down my face as if it was syrup. A drop got into my eyes, and it felt like thousands of hot embers had been squeezed into my eye socket. Then the blood reached my mouth. It tasted like a shaker of salt had been dumped into my mouth. I was now starting to feel dizzy. I remember wondering why my shirt felt heavier. I then had the horrible revelation that it was soaked through with blood. I remember someone grabbing me and dragging me to the nurse’s office. I couldn’t tell if the salty taste in my mouth was from my blood or tears. I was close to passing out at this point and right before I did I remembered thinking one thing. Today was picture day.