On rainy days recess was on the black top. For those of you who didn't go to my school, that meant the teacher parking lot.
This was fine with me. Part of it was painted with hopscotch squares and four squares. I had as much fun on the black top as I did on the playground.
But, I was sad for Maria. On her first day she couldn't play on the playground, and she didn't care to organize games of four square or hopscotch. She depended on me to do those things.
While I was worrying about her good time, I was surprised when the Kindergarten class filed outside. Maria was in line, wearing her favorite twirly dress. It was brown with tiny maroon flowers. And it twirled like a West Texas dust devil.
I immediately dropped the ball and ran to her, eager to bring her into my circle and show her the ropes of the black top.
But my plan was interrupted by a shrill whistle. I look up as the second grade teachers are ordering us to line up. Anxious and still determined, I run up to my teacher.
"I need to stay here and play with my sister," I announce.
She said no.
Everything inside me deflated as I turn to face my sister. She starts to cry as I am ordered to line up.
I can still see her face. The memory is sharp and still wrenches at my gut. I can see her, standing in the hopscotch squares, in her pretty twirly dress, as tears stream down her cheeks.
Walking away from her was the most torturous thing I had ever had to do.
She was fine, of course. I agonized over it for the rest of the day, but when we got home she was as happy as all get-out.
It comforted me, but did not release me from the horrific feeling of walking away from my sister when she needed me.
I was determined it would never happen again. Sometimes I set my goals way too high....