Dear A,

I enjoyed providence. Sure, looking back on it now, I’m glad it shut down when it did, and that I never had the bad experiences my sister had there. I’m relieved that nobody was brainwashed by the owner and her weird beliefs. For the most part, my classmates and I got along- hard to not when there were only 9 kids to a room. We had P.E. at the aquatic center during the spring, so we were able to get off campus. Recess always felt longer here then any other school I’d attended, so bonus there too. 

Every Friday, we either had the day off, or we had a pizza party during lunch. I remember feeling sorry for you because you were never allowed to eat anything even a tiny bit unhealthy: meaning no pizza. Your mom was a vegan by choice, so you were by force. You were too skinny, and always seemed bored.  I, on the other hand, got to devour basically anything… And I would, but eating a slice of heavenly chocolate cake in front of a kid who didn’t even know what chocolate tasted like, seemed wrong. 

You were quiet, too. The kind of quiet where you could talk for 20 minutes straight, and still not really say anything. In the free time between drop offs and class, you were usually seated in your desk, while the rest of us made stick teepees outside. You never made a fuss or disturbance, but always looked like you were waiting to explode. 

Then that day came along. 

I had begged my sister to let me borrow her puffy silver coat on that cold December morning, and she reluctantly agreed. Then, when I opened the school’s front entrance, I saw you. And you looked happy… or at least, I remember it that way. You were playing alone, so I jumped right in, waiting for the rest of our peers to arrive. I was much more extroverted than you, so we played silent ball for a few rounds. 

As the other students came trickling in, you seemed excited to play outside. As you ran out the doors, I followed you, not expecting you to stop and turn around. I think I ran into you first, but I don’t remember. All I know for sure is that, one minute I was running after you, and the next, my sisters silver coat had a display of red along it’s chest. I didn’t even understand where it came from, until one of my friends asked me if I was ok. You punched me right in the face, and then proceeded out the door. 

Break ended, and with that, class began… I was in the lobby with my mom, tissue in hand and head up. It felt like hours before the bleeding stopped, and I was able to go to class.  When I took my seat, I wouldn’t look at you: I didn’t want to poke the bear. 

At recess, one friend asked me if your punch hurt, to which I nodded thinking, “surprisingly yes, for a kid who’s all skin and bone.” But, if I’m honest, I don’t remember the pain of your scrawny fist: I remember the embarrassment that came along with it. I was never the subject of anyone’s lash outs until that day, so I never expected to be punched in the face for being annoying. I guess that’s what you get for trying to be a friend to someone that doesn’t want one.

But hey, at least it wasn’t a roundhouse kick to the face. Just a punch from a kid who needed to be heard.

Thanks for the battlescar,

Melissa

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