She sometimes got pulled out of classes for special
treatment. People would acknowledge this and stare
in awe. Walking down the hallway to her destination,
she would look at her feet. Her binder felt almost
as heavy as her heart, which could make an entire
marching band’s lead drummers. She opened the doors
of the place she dreaded the most and took a seat next
to two other people. Goosebumps were raised; the seat
was comfortable. They were cushioned more than chairs
in the regular classrooms. They cushioned her rage,
her embarrassment, and most of all, her self-wallowing.
She struggled to read the equations on the paper;
they jiggled, jumped and swayed as if taunting her every
chance they got. She didn’t understand what anyone
was talking about, her mind was blank and it felt like
her brain had a severe shrinkage that couldn’t be cured.
When she did comprehend and did the bare minimum,
she’d get a starred blue ticket, like the ones used
at carnivals. When gifted one, the teacher would smile
but behind the smiling, she could see they pitied her.
Every ticket added was like another punch to the face.
Another bruise that needed bandaging. Tickets were used
to buy little candies or chips. She was treated like a baby
meant to be bribed by blue paper. Someone who couldn’t
walk on her own feet. The bell rang loudly in her ears,
and she decided to buy a piece of candy on her way
out back to the hallway that was now packed with students
going to their last class. Everyone looked her way when
she came from the room because they knew who goes
to rooms like those. She found it hard to read the name
of candy she had picked and she popped it into her mouth.
The candy was sweet. Her tears were salty.