It was late September (the worst time of year). School was now in session; the New York weather was cold and wet; and to top it all off, the eye doctor was making her rounds today. She came every year around this time, and her plan was simple: ruin the lives of children—forever! What kind of lady, or any human being, gets a kick out of slapping a pair of glasses on a second-grade child? An evil witch with a mole the size of Asia on her right cheek. That’s who! Oh, and you better believe hair grew out of her mole. Awful, awful human! “Thomas Gardner. You’re next.” The mole-cheek doctor said. Her voice was nails on a chalkboard.
I looked over my shoulder and watched my comrade, Tommy, leave the room and make his way to the doctor’s lair (which was the church lobby across the parking lot from the school). Thomas. . .was never seen again. Just kidding. But he did move the next day, and I would never see him again after that.
It had been five minutes since Tommy left to meet his fate, and if they were going in alphabetical order, which they always do in school, I’d be next. The fear of getting glasses made my bony legs shake under my desk, which contained a divider on each side, forming a mini cubicle. I tapped on my desk with a pencil whose eraser looked like it had been attacked by a wild wolf. And my school uniform—white dress shirt, blue tie, solid black pants, dress socks, and dress shoes—stunk from nervous sweat. The kind of sweat that would destroy entire families with one whiff.
It was obvious I needed glasses. I knew it, because everything in my cubicle was a blur, and anything further than that was just a bunch of mixed colors, like a an abstract painting. But not a good abstract painting. It looked more like a painting done with the left hand of a child who was right-handed. Either way, my life would be over any moment now.
Tommy waltzed back into class with an extra pep in his step, and the smell of sweet victory coming off his confident posture. Tommy would be free of any glasses jokes for at least another year. “Ronald German.” The eye doctor said. She was back, and hungry for a pair of bad eyes. Silence fell over the room: it was a small classroom; the size of a trailer; bought by our local church to make room for a private christian-school. “Ronald German?” The eye doctor said again, at this point wondering if there was a student here by that name.
I wasn’t dumb. I heard her call my birth-given name, but I didn’t want to respond. For one, I wasn’t a fan of my real name: Ronald Eugene German III. See, even you laughed! For two, or for second or for however you say it, I got a kick out of making people feel more annoyed than I was. I figured, if I had to suffer, I might as well take her down with me—by any means necessary. So I stayed a stone and didn’t budge.
“Reggie!” Mrs. Moots, my second-grade teacher, and my first-grade teacher (it was a small school; only twenty students in those two grades), broke the silence. Mrs. Moots was a saint. She had white puffy-hair like all old ladies have. She had rose-colored glasses with two points that looked like sharp horns at the top. And she walked with a slow limp which showed her age; an age I estimated to be…105 years old.
Even though Mrs. Moots was sitting at her desk, a good twenty-yards away from me, I still felt my teacher’s stare on the back of my neck. So, I got up, kicked my chair in with my scuffed-up dress shoes, and took my last few steps as a kid with no glasses.