By Ray

At last, the wonderful day had come for me when I would start school. I had no shoes, but Ma promised to buy some for me on pay day. I had two sisters older than I, but they treated me as an untouchable. They spoke elementary English when I was nearby. My sisters would come home jabbering about the fun that they had with playground activity, games, singing, and even arithmetic. I wanted to be part of this world.

The school bus came, and we were at the school in a short time. Kids sorted themselves out and headed for their rooms. I followed my sisters. Miss Weaver, our teacher, had three classes to conduct. There were fascinating writings and symbols on the blackboards. Miss Weaver met me and showed me to a desk. Across the aisle I saw the most beautiful girl ever. I had to kiss her and made the attempt, but she shrieked. My sisters kissed at me, and Miss Weaver moved me.

As we were settling down, two young women came in the room. They headed straight to me, said that they wanted to help me and to go with them. I saw this as just another routine procedure. The women showed me to a small room full of clothing and all manner of discards. They located a large box full of shoes. They found shoes that would probably fit and put them on my feet. When I looked down I was stunned. The shoes were made for girls. They were shiny black with eyelets in the shape of flowers. When the women were done, they said that I could return to my classroom. I came out of shock to figure out what to do next. I started back to the classroom, but I made a turn, threw the shoes in the bushes, and went home.

The walk home was a long one. When my feet started to hurt, I thought that I should have worn the shoes to get home, but it crossed my mind that a friend or neighbor might happen by, see me wearing the shoes, and wonder about my true nature.

When Ma and Pa came home, Ma asked me about my first day in school. As I was preparing my response, my sister hollered from the next room that I had left and come home. I proceeded to tell Ma about the shoes. Ma responded with “hmm, hum” and went back to her tortillas. It was understood and expected that I would not be in school in the morning.

When I awoke the next morning and looked around the room I saw a box placed squarely in my path. I started to kick it, but I got curious and lifted the lid. Inside was a brand new pair of shoes made for boys. Ma looked into the room and was pleased to see me twirling around.

My sisters and I were ready and went to meet the bus. The clunky vehicle arrived, driven by friendly Mr Shoemaker.

April 2017