From the Schoolhouse
The form was simple and straightforward.
I created it quickly. It said, “pIck one item in Dr. Denny’s room that you would like to take with you when school ends. Tell why you want it and why you deserve it.”
Kids fanned out scrambling to find the best bargain. There were dragons, a huge green fish, a Cat in the Hat stuffed doll, a big rabbit holding a welcome sign. I had movies, books, trinkets of all descriptions, pretty wax candles with ambrosial scents, clocks, pumpkins, a Spiderman poster, a tall lamp, a brand new never used ancient cassette player in a pristine box etc.
As the kids jockeyed and pushed to find the best yard sale bargains, one tall, smart girl remained in the corner plotting. She was one of my best students holding an A average without even trying. She never said much, but when she did talk to me she was quick and witty with a sly smile that I loved. We would go back and forth with our dry remarks trying to get the other to break into laughter.
While the other kids argued over the fish and the dragon, she strolled nonchalantly up to my desk and tossed her form into the air watching it flutter onto the pile of other wish list forms like a Shenandoah leaf tumbling from a top branch into the valley. She didn’t say anything. She just shot me a dry grin and sashayed back to her corner.
“Did you find something you like?” I asked over the din in the room.
“Yeah,” she said laconically as if her choice meant nothing to her.
“Well, what did you choose?” I tried to avoid whatever trap she might be setting.
She smiled. “Just read it,” she said leaning against the wall in the corner as if she was beneath a city lamp pole at midnight. The form said simply:
Why I want this item–
He would be fun to have in high school.
Why I deserve this item:
This question is irrelevant.
I had to laugh. I yelled across the room. “I have a great brand new cassette player you could have if you want to swap for something practical.”
She stared thoughtfully at me like I was a twinkling trinket in a jewelry store window. “No, I’m quite happy with my decision.”