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I am clutching my father’s hand like I do so well, because, God help me, I am not going into that classroom if it is the last thing I do. I’m not crying, because that would be out of place and embarrassing and my greatest talent is staying quiet, but I am silently protesting, tugging on my father’s arm in place of wailing. I never talk much, and school is definitely not an exception.

I don’t want my parents to leave me here in this cold dark school, even though the windows let in plenty of sunshine and fall leaves glow crimson and marigold on the grass outside, and even though the posters on the wall are colored butterscotch, aquamarine, and emerald, and other multisyllabic words I can spell at the age of five.

I will undoubtedly be tired and bored for hours on end in this cold dark school, not to mention that friendship isn’t my forte. My backpack (which is violet, probably) hangs off of one of my shoulders, and I care more about leaving this place than the fact that my pencil case is threatening to fall out of the open pocket, and spill out onto the brown and blue speckled carpet.

My dad finally prys me off of him. Damn it, I think, but don’t say out loud, because I shouldn’t really be knowing words like that yet. Soon, my dearest father has delivered me straight into the hands of the devil. My teacher smiles but I am sure that there is something sinister behind it.

I take millimeter steps to my desk, which is bordered at the top by a name tag spelling Srishti, the wrong way, of course. I’m positive that I can spell better than my kindergarten teacher. I will prove this fact, weeks later, after I am mistakenly sent to ESL due to my selective muteness, and after I successfully obtain several fancy mechanical pencils for doing well in the program, despite the fact that I speak English fluently.

I keep glancing towards the door when I sit down at the desk, which is grouped in a table with three others. The girl directly next to me is small and quiet, although she will eventually grow up to be a loudmouth, who is nearly a foot taller than me and proficient in walking in heels. Her name tag spells her name, the correct way, of course. We don’t talk but we share a look, which is enough for now.

Later in the day, when the sun shines even brighter through the windows, we are allowed to choose drinks from the cafeteria, which will be brought to our classroom during snack time. I pick apple juice.
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