Hoping It Goes Away

Posted by on Sep 8, 2006 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

When I was in elementary school (we’re talking Parkview here because I don’t really have fond memories from my time at Nimitz [Thanks for sending the pictures, Dad! However, I am still jealous that you got to head back to Oahu last month without us. I guess I can forgive you, this time.]

The front walk to Nimitz

My Kindgergarten classroom was on the end.

My best friend, Heather, and I (and some other uber-white kid) shortly before or after we sang “Pooka Shells” and “King Kamehameha” as a class.

My memories from Nimitz involve a lot of anxiety and quite a bit of dirt. The negativity may stem from the speech pathologist who used to force me to say words over and over again (with my impediment filling the room with Ys for Ls and Ws for Rs while other children, equally impaired, listened). It was the kindergarten version of Abu Ghraib — public humiliation, torture and fear, but G-Rated, of course. The dirt was everywhere because it was all open air and even the bathrooms were not completely enclosed, with open ‘vents’ at the top and the bottom of the walls. The only haven of comfort in that place was my Kindergarten teacher’s classroom. Mrs. Kawasaki had been my brother’s teacher too and she was a very loving, overly makeup-ed Japanese woman who smelled sweet and gave out hugs. My first grade teacher was not quite as endearing. I was in her classroom for seven months and I can barely recall her face.) and I had a headache, I would go to the nurses office where she would let me lie down on the black vinyl bed until I felt good enough or was bored enough to return to my classroom.

I didn’t really love the nurse’s office. The nurse herself was almost never sympathetic. She was always accusatory when it came to listening to our ailments and even though I knew why she had to be that way, I couldn’t help but feel outrage when she didn’t believe my “I’m sick.” You should know that I have a low body temperature – usually hovering between 96.9 and 97.5, which is a terrible curse when you are trying to explain that at 99.7 you feel like your flesh is on fire and clawing your face off seems like your only option to cool down. The nurse would refuse to call my mother at such times and I would beg her to do it. I remember once trying to battle her about putting a note about my low body temp on my little nurse card and it nearly caused the world to spin off its access. The battle raged until I moved on to junior high, but if I ever run into that woman again, I would probably find a note card and force her to put my normal temperature down in black ink, just so that I know she knows I was not lying. It’s the principle of the thing, people.

Luckily for me, the nurse was prone to headaches, the kind that made her sit with the light off in her office so that her eyes would not ache. Anytime I had one take over my head, I knew she would recognize the half closed lids, raspy breathing and scrunched forehead of head pain. She would usher me right into her office, turn off the light and let me rest on her white trimmed cold vinyl couch. It was sweet relief from the overhead fluorescent lights that sucked out my brain and constricted my blood vessels.

What I wouldn’t give for that couch today.

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