The next thing I did was to open my eyes really wide and look around. There were people with blue and green clothes on like pajamas, and the room I was in was big and noisy with beds everywhere, and mystery sounds all around, and television screens hanging from the ceiling. If it weren't for my Mom and Dad, I know that I would have screamed. Just then my Dad reached over to give me a big hug. That's when I felt the tube attached to my arm, and thatís when I saw it, and thatís when I began to cry.
Thatís what I felt like doing right now, too, right in front of Mrs. Preston and all the children in that third grade classroom. Even though I saw some of the children smiling at me when I sat down, I could see that Peter was not. In fact, he was sticking his tongue out at me and scrunching up his face in the ugliest way. I didnít want to cry, but thatís what was beginning to happen. Crying is a babyish thing to do, I kept telling myself. So although everyone knows that itís hard to squeeze tears back in when they make up their minds to swim out, I tried to do just that.
And it worked, too, until I heard Nina whisper to the new boy sitting next to her, "look at that baby. I bet sheís going to start crying any minute!" Well, thatís exactly what happened next. I was horrified! As the tears wiggled down my cheeks, I covered my face with my hands and pretended that I was invisible. That used to work when I was a little girl--If I couldnít see anyone, then I thought that no-one could see me. Presto! Magic! But no such luck today.
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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468