I can hear voices, as I lay curled in a ball. They sounds soft and muddled, the sound waves are traveling through a wall of water. It reminds me of what I imagine a fish would sound like, if fish could talk. There is the familiar voice of my mother saying, “but he could live with muscular dystrophy.” A man’s voice replies, “yes, but the pregnancy and the birth would be dangerous, you both could die. And what kind of life would your baby live, enslaved to a disease?” the conversation continued, but I was getting too tired to listen. It was time for my nap. I slipped into a dream, my favorite kind of dream. This was the kind of dream where I was looking back on the life I wish I had lived, rather than the one where I was looking forward to the life I hoped to live.
I grew up in a nice suburban neighborhood. There were a lot of kids my age to play with. It was always fun being one of the five year olds who gave their mother a heart attack by running into the middle of the road during a heated game of tag. However, as we got older, we gained a small amount of wisdom. By the age of 8, we learned to never let our mothers see the way we played, because otherwise they would be sure to spoil our fun. There was a small tree line right in between my house and a large open field. That is where all the boys would go to play tackle football. Sometimes we played soccer too, and although it’s not traditional to tackle your opponents, we usually managed to break tradition.
As I grew bigger and stronger, my passion for sports became more pronounced. I began to realize that I was capable of winning most of the games at recess, as well as the small competitions the neighborhood boys had at home. Soccer was one of my favorite games, because I was the best at it. I was quick, accurate, and I had stamina. I was at the end of my fifth grade year of school when my parents got a phone call that could bring my dreams into perdition. The school wanted to meet with my parents and I.
My heart was pounding, my mind racing as we walked into the principal’s office. I wasn’t the most well behaved kid in the class, but I always did what I was told. I got good grades, there was no reason I should be in so much trouble that the school needed to meet with my parents.
“Mr. and Mrs. Chesterton, thank you so much for meeting with me. Please have a seat,” said Principal Higgs, to my parents, in her sweetest tone. She was a woman in her mid-forties. She still looked young, though there were hints of age on her forehead and around her eyes. Although she was a firm woman, with high expectations, she was not strictly authoritarian. She had a sense of humor, which was traced in the lines around her mouth. The students thought her fair and, for the most part, kind, but her firm brown eyes could open a doorway to punishment that would strike fear into the heart of any fifth grade boy. She fixed those eyes upon me now, but they did not flash with justice and anger, they shown with excitement and perhaps even pride. “How are you Conrad?” she asked.
“Well, I’m alright,” I replied, “but I’m a little confused.”
“Well, I don’t know what I did wrong. I wasn’t so bad this year that you had to have my parents come here, was I? I never tried to be. I really wanted to be a good boy. Mr. Krest is a nice teacher. He likes soccer, and sometimes he would take us outside on nice days and let us play a little longer. I wanted to be really good for him, cause he did that. I tried real, real hard! I even told the other boys to be good too, but I didn’t tell the girls, cause well girls just don’t appreciate playing soccer outside like the boys do. But the girls didn’t usually cause trouble anyways, so I didn’t have to tell them to be good. They just were.” I said all this quickly and passionately. I’d been building up to it all day. I didn’t know what I had done wrong, but I just wanted to clear the air by affirming my innocence as soon as possible. Principal Higgs smiled broadly when I began my speech, and by the end she could no longer contain herself, and she laughed, not unkindly, as I spoke. I looked around me and saw that both of my parents were laughing as well. Now I was thoroughly confused. (To Be Continued)