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Her First Four

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I can’t “shoot a hoop”, disproving the stereotype that black people are somehow amazing basketball players. I can run pretty fast, but that doesn’t prove anything. I’ll say I can’t play an instrument, assuming that Mary Had a Little Lamb and Hot Cross Buns don’t count towards musical excellence. Actually, now that I think about it, I can’t even play Hot Cross Buns anymore. I don’t have a recital coming up, or a hanger hidden underneath a pile of shiny medals that looks like the seaweed swamp monster from Scooby-Doo, only more impressive. Basically, my life (so far) is short in grandeur. I say “in short” because it’s not completely missing. I do have a little something to be proud of, something that keeps my head up when I walk into a friend’s award-stockpile of a room.

It was fourth grade. I was living in Texas, getting my “ya’ll” on. School was a sanctuary for me, and this certain school, ********* Elementary, had a writing fetish paired very conveniently with a yearly writing test, TAKS Writing. I played along, my young nine-year-old treading water in the writing world. I learned to swim by my third paper, thanks to a wonderful teacher, whose young age defied her fourth-grade wisdom. I wrote about Christmas. I wrote about being a pumpkin. I wrote about a lot of things. And when TAKS came to town, I wrote about my dog. Then, the writing stopped, and we moved on to reading. While we read our silly books and took our silly reading tests, our test results were on their way. The day they came was one I’ve already forgotten most of, but I’ve got proof that it existed.

Ms. ******** stood before us, glowing with pride. She explained to us that we all did amazing. Four being the highest score, she was happy to say we had only a few twos, mostly threes, and one four. I think you know where this is going. The next night, I dressed myself up. I wore stockings (They do that in Texas), put on a dress and dress shoes, and walked to school with my mom. She sat in the crowd, and I on the stage. The ceremony was commensurate to a high school math class. The only part I remember was walking toward the principal, and being given my baby, my one trophy, my one pride and joy. I was as happy as a kid in a candy shop, or in my case, a dork kid with a dorky trophy.


From that day, until I left Hillcrest, Ms. ******* made sure I remembered that I was her “first four” in an attempt to lift my spirits. That four-inch tall trophy is the only one I have to this day. I still can’t “shoot a hoop” or play anything more than Mary Had a Little Lamb, but I feel just as accomplished as the kid with the Scooby-Doo monster medals. I’ve got the happiness and some of the memory left from that time, and I’ve got the plastic trophy. I feel good.



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