My teeth hurt from chewing my purple blanket, but I couldn’t help myself. The routine helped calm my fraying nerves. The softness of the fabric, now wet and worn down from the constant chewing, a simple reminder that I have a bit of home. Home. A place that I left because of her.
The lady in the front seat driving had a funny smell. Her hair under her green baseball cap reminded me of the way I looked when I first woke up in the morning. I wondered why she
didn’t brush her hair and make sure she smelled ok like my Daddy does for me in the morning. Maybe she doesn’t have a Daddy. Surely, if she has no Daddy, she has to have a Mommy. I am wondering what her Mommy and Daddy must be like, as I compare my imagination of them to my own parents.
My Mommy always makes sure I have clean clothes and eat a few times a day. She always has her hair brushed and her clothes are clean. Every morning, she smiles at me and tells me she loves me. Does that lady have a Mommy who does that too?
Daddy always makes sure I have my hair brushed and teeth scrubbed. He makes silly faces so that I laugh and usually make me spit out my toothpaste. I am smiling now thinking about how Daddy did just that this morning. Mommy got pouty with Daddy because I got some on my shirt and he had to change it. I laughed at the scrunched-up face Daddy made when Mommy complained.
The big banana I am on, stopped and two more kids climbed up the big steps. They didn’t look happy and the smaller one tried to cling to a tall lady. Prying him off, she sat him down and told him he had to go up the steps. Shaking his head, he pleaded with her for him to stay. All she did was point and his head fell as he turned to go up the steps.
The wild hair lady driving shook her head and looked in the mirror above her head. She watched as both boys took the seat in front of mine. They slumped down and sighed as the big banana started up again. The noise scary and had me drawing my knees up to my chest. I wished I was at home.
I squish my blanket against me and begin chewing on it harder. My focus was on my jaw hurting until I heard the boys in front of me. A small sniffle and the bigger one’s head leaned closer to the smaller one.
“It’s ok,” he said to him. “You will be good. I know you will.”
The sentiments made me jealous. I wished he would have said it to me too because I don’t feel like it is ok. I miss my Mommy and Daddy, but they said I had to go today. They walked me to the big long vehicle that reminds me of a giant banana and told me today I was going to be a big girl, and do what I was told. I cried and shook my head, but that made my Mommy cry. I didn’t like my Mommy crying, so I agreed. Daddy wiped my tears as I looked up at him. He leaned over and kissed my forehead and said I was a big girl now.
I didn’t want to be a big girl now. I wanted to be their little girl like they always said I was. I wanted to stay home and bake cookies with Daddy and draw with Mommy. I wanted to listen to them talk about what we were going to do that day and snuggle during nap time with my blankie.
A big bump had me pulling back from my daydreaming. The other kids on the big banana quiet, except for the small sniffling sounds of the seat in front of me and my chewing. I look around swiftly at the other children. I saw another girl with big brown eyes looking at me before I shift my gaze back to the front.
My heart pounded in my chest and I chewed harder on my blanket. One day I figured I would put a hole in the blanket but I didn’t care. I would keep this blanket forever. I was beginning to get very scared the further away I got from home. I didn’t like being away from Mommy and Daddy but I promised I would be brave for them. I told them I could do it. The smile on Daddy and Mommy's face when I said it made me want to try, even if I hated it. Mommy stopped crying and wiped her tears as Daddy picked me up to hug me between them. I felt secure and safe in that moment. The moment was broken though when I saw the flashing lights of the big banana.
The big banana screeched as it pulled to a stop in front of a big building. The kids all stood up and started shuffling off. A long line of children went past me as I stayed seated in my seat, clutching my blanket to me and chewing very loudly. I got a few stares and I felt like crying. I didn’t want to be here. I wanted to go home.
“You need help?” The bigger boy in front of me asked, startling me. I jumped up and plopped back down in my seat.
“Well?” He asked again, standing, he moved to the aisle and held out his hand. The smaller boy standing next to him, clung to his other hand.
I scrunch back into my seat.
“This is Frank. He is my little brother. I am Henry.” He introduced. Still holding out his hand he leaned a little forward. “I take it you’re new too?”
“So is my brother. I bet you two are in the same class. Would you like me to walk you both to class?”
I pause. I look from his outstretched hand to his brother and I think for a moment. I promised Mommy and Daddy I would be brave today. I would be a big girl and do what they asked. If I say no, I do it alone. If I say yes, I have someone to go with me. Do I want to?
He waits patiently, his brother tugging on his hand. The banana driver makes a noise and I look to see her looking at us from the mirror, wild hair and all. I don’t like the way she looks at me but I ignore it and look back at the boy.
“I am Sally,” I say before gripping my blanket and taking his hand.