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The Ugly Walnut

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Peter, with the grey Santa Claus beard and soothing eyes, painted stacks of withered walnuts in multicolored patterns of bright blues, soft pinks, and sunshine yellows. Later that day, the other kindergarteners and I were scheduled to engage in an Easter egg hunt for walnuts with our third grade reading partners. As the clock slowly ticked, I waited anxiously as I rushed through my splatter paint during art time. My anticipation only grew when Peter excused himself to hide the walnut-eggs in the meadow. When our partners finally entered the classroom, I scurried up to Emily, my reading partner, and tugged on her sleeve, pulling her towards the door. Once outside and over the small, wooden bridge, we reached the grassy meadow where I began a frantic search to find the brightly colored walnut-eggs. I gathered a few and shoved them in Emily’s face, quickly scampering off to fulfill my wish of being egg collecting queen. Soon, I came across a different kind of walnut-egg. Its colors were not as vibrant as the other ones. It was dirty white, spotted with washed out blue. I gave a small shrug and picked up the ugly walnut. Turning to Emily, I forcibly extended my hand to her and felt an odd cracking sensation between multiple fingers. Yellowish yolk and fragmented blue shells stuck onto my small palm, with only half an empty shell remaining.
I then realized, that in reality, the walnut was a bird’s egg. I was done hunting for walnuts. I stole back to the classroom with a worried Emily in tow. She could not understand why my jocular mood had suddenly changed to gloom. In the classroom, I washed my one hand, stared at the drain, and watched as it swallowed the life of that baby bird. Never would it chirp, only enjoy the silence of death. I somberly walked to my Lion King lunch box and extracted an empty yogurt cup, placing the remaining half shell lovingly inside. Next, I stepped out to a sunny playground and gathered bits of grass and leaves for the yogurt cup, ensuring that the egg would be warm and comfortable while refusing to accept that the life of this bird-to-be had been shattered like the shells that had lain in my hand.
As my classmates began to return from the field, I knew it was time to go and reluctantly followed them inside. While we all sat in a circle, I slumped as my classmates screeched about who had collected the prettiest or the most walnuts. Instead of joining the conversations of exhilarated six year olds, I tip toed to the back of the room where the cubbies were. I tucked the yogurt cup, with the empty shell padded with soft green grass inside, behind my favorite sketch book and sweater. Throughout the year, I checked the carton, half believing that one day I would approach my cubby and hear the chirping of a baby bird instead of the empty silence.





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