The Bitter Taste Of Injustice
When I think of my first years of school, I usually fist think of the girls I had crushes on, Lynn with her cute little smile, and Stephani with her big black bee hive hairdo, soon after though I usually remember some boy in my kindergarten class deciding it was his turn to play with my toy and hitting me in the head with a wooden block, a different boy punching me in the mouth as I swung on the swing at lunch, and devious little David hiding in the cloakroom jackets waiting for me to get my snack, then ambushing me with a knee to the nuts, at some point during that year, I also learned what it is like to have my hair pulled, my neck strangled, my skin scratched, and to be hit by rocks.
Through all the turmoil of my early school life, I had always held the belief that fairness would eventually be handed down by the adults around me, they always seemed to be there to save me from injustice, if someone stole my toy, they would bring it back to me, tell me everything was going to be alright, and punish the evil doer who took joy in my tears.
One day just before recess in first grade, an announcement came over the loudspeaker from Mrs Littlewood, stating that a bicycle had gone missing on the school grounds, we were told it was an orange bike with a banana seat on it. There was to be a reward for the finder of the bike of one giant sized Hershey Chocolate bar. Honestly at the age of six, I could not think of anything else I wanted more in the world. A chocolate bar as long as my arm and as wide as my stomach was a dream for me. I remember my older neighbor had once received one of these as a reward for delivering so many newspapers, he had tacked its wrapper to his wall above his bed like an award, and I was hoping to do the same.
The bell rang for recess, and I went running out the door with my friend Angus, strait to the bike racks in search of the orange bike with the banana seat, amazingly enough, we saw just such a bike only two meters in from where we first started looking, we grabbed it out of the rack, and ran it to the nearby office to see if it was indeed the bike they were looking for. Through the office doors we charged, there was Mrs Littlewood, we asked her if it was the bike, the parents were still in her office, and confirmed indeed it was the bike. We were so happy, but the looks on their faces were not as happy as ours, we did not know why.
We then went out to play at recess all excited telling several people we found the bike and that we were going to get the big chocolate bar. After recess was finished we both returned to Mrs Beatle’s classroom to continue our studies.
Let me tell you a bit about my first grade teacher Mrs Beatle, since she is a very important character in this story, and in fact a major cause of it. She was a rather large woman, with big chubby rosy cheeks, had curly died blond hair, dark tanned skin, and blue eyes. She liked to wear large bright colored flower dresses, large plastic necklaces and long dangling earring. I remember she would often play us a sad Dolly Parton song about someone’s pet dog that died, as that was her favorite musician, and she thought we all needed multiple lessons about dying dogs for some reason. You may sense some bitterness in my memories towards her, and soon you will understand why.
Shortly after the bell rang, there was an announcement on the loud speaker stating that the bike had been found. Angus and I grinned from ear to ear about the good job that we had done, and a few moments later there was a knock on the door, with the principal holding the giant chocolate bar. He called Mrs Beatle out of the room for a moment, I suspect in hindsight,to share with her his suspicions of Angus of I finding the bike so fast, as he may have actually thought we were its thieves, which of course we were not. After a few moments Mrs Beatle came in with the chocolate bar. We were so excited. She made an announcement to the class that since Angus and I had found the bike, the chocolate bar would be divided amongst the class.
Huh? What? Divided? That was Angus and My chocolate bar, and we did not say this was to be divided ? What is this ? She then put the large chocolate bar down on her desk, ripped its precious wrapper, that I was hoping to put on my bedroom wall, opened the tin foil, and began to start breaking up the chocolate.
All of this was an absolute horror for my six year old eyes, how could she do this to something she did not own? I did not even get to touch the reward before this started, I wanted to hold it and look at it, and read the back, to sniff it and take it home to divide with my friend and put in the fridge to eat slowly. I wanted to show it to my Mum and hang its wrapper on the wall. My eyes soon started to fill with tears at the painful sight of our beloved reward being broken and damaged at the hands of another. I eventually stood up in protest, the announcement said the finder would be rewarded the chocolate bar, not the finder’s class. I went up to Mrs Beatle, who had already broken a piece off the chocolate bar and shoved it in her mouth about this, I said it was Angus and mine to do what we wanted with it. She told me it belonged to the class, we had to share, and that I should sit down.
I sat down and watched her divide up the massive chocolate bar into two squares for everyone in the class, and started calling people up to hand them out. Angus and I were called up alphabetically, no special than anyone else to get our two squares. When this was all done and I saw Mrs Beatle munching on yet more chocolate again, I went up to her desk upset, she still had over halve of the massive chocolate bar there, and she had already eaten more than me.
I said “Why do you get to eat more than Angus and I ? We found the bike not you. ”
She told me to “Grow Up” and gave me one more piece before wrapping up the massive chocolate bar with her plump fingers, and shoving it into her desk. I never saw it again.
I took that last piece she gave me, and chewed on it, it tasted good, the chocolate was sweet, I swallowed most of it, then my saliva washed away the rest, after it was all gone, the only flavor that remained behind was the bitter taste of injustice.