Mundane Rant 101

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is a brief attempt to narrate what a lonely five-year-old child could possibly be going through daily.

Mundane Rant 101

“Someday, can I comb my own hair?”

I crossed my fingers, pressed both arms on the rough tabletop and tried to tiptoe as high as I could to reach the level of the mirror resting on the tabletop.

All I managed to see was a curved shape of dark hair popping out from the lower brim of the mirror.

“Off course, dearie, someday, you have to comb your own hair,” said the caretaker.

I sniffed at the faint wet, mouldy smell coming out from the caretaker’s apron, and then took in a deeper breath, taking in other smells in the room – the familiar scent of books, both old and new, was the most significant, closely followed by the smell from the air freshener.

My caretaker was prepared to tie up my hair. I heard the twang of my hair-tying band.

“No plates please, I want a ponytail,” I said, still trying stretch my hand across the table to get the mirror. The caretaker snatched the mirror up and gave it to me.

“Alright, have it your way.”

I finally got my hair done. My caretaker stooped down and checked that I had done up my buttons correctly and ushered me to get ready.

I picked up my bag from the floor, checked for my books and stationery, made one last check at the living-room table to make sure I had left nothing behind, before following my caretaker to the front door.

“Ya, she was playing with the shadows with the mistress again last night...” I heard my caretaker say as I slipped into my shoes. A little dry mud had managed to soil up the tip and the sides of my shoe. I tried to scrape them off. They came off as flakes.

“And she threw a tantrum again before dinner, the usual… always interrupting when the sir is trying to have a talk with the mistress and start crying when she is not entertained. There was nothing I could do except wait for her to exhaust herself up,” my caretaker continued.

“That’s awful!” My neighbour was saying, I took a peek from behind the pillar, and watched as my neighbour smile awkwardly, tucked a bag and some files beneath her arms a she folded up her umbrella and unlocked her car with a ‘click’.

“Awful indeed! She was playing with the torchlight in the study room when the young sir was trying to study, and tied up the door with rafia string with the young sir still inside. I think the mistress spoils her a little too much. She was screaming and kicking, and then the mistress comes in and tries to soothe her with a box of juice, seriously, if my kid behaved like that, I would at least give her a firm twist on both ears.”

My neighbour squeezed out a wide, wide smile. “Of course, of course, bringing difficult children up is never easy……. Hey, isn’t that her? Hi, good morning, little angel.”

“Good morning,” I waved from behind the pillar and walked over to the caretaker.

“I need to get her to kindergarten now, see you later,” the caretaker said. I looked up, saw the freshly painted wall, saw the bright, bright smile on my caretaker’s face and saw the neighbour giving a small wave before disappearing into her car.

 

It was just a short trudge to the kindergarten. The morning sun was blazing and beautiful. Miss Quinn was already there, opening the blue-white gate and giving every one of us with a wide, wide smile.

Ann was trying to tickle Lynn and Jack was showing something to Beans and Jade was laughing at something Amber said.

I waved my caretaker goodbye and made my way up the stone-paved driveway, avoiding the boxes with moss and trying to step on the clean stones only. I had tried to step on all the moss-grown stones last week. So its only fair that this week I’m stepping on the moss-free stones.  I reached the drain and gave the grates a wide berth, clutching tightly to my bag so that nothing falls down there.

I slipped off my shoes and aligned them as neatly as I could alongside everyone else’s shoes. My classroom is upstairs. The three-year olds were gathered in the classroom downstairs, along with their teacher getting them to line up in a nice and friendly tone.

I reached the classroom for five-year-olds. There were three exercise homework from yesterday. I fished them out from my bag and placed them on the teacher’s table along with my classmate’s homework.

I then left my bag on the carpeted floor at my place and went to get myself a chair from the stack of chairs at the very back of the classroom.

I settled down and started staring down at the table. Images of the Hero Hamster from yesterday afternoon floated about on the blue table surface. Hero Hamster was cool, it was just like he was flying in the sky. The blue, blue kind of sky with no danger of rain or lightning. But a plain blue sky is unrealistic. I added clouds of all shapes and sizes on the blue, blue table. Then I drew some birds to accompany Hero Hamster during his flight. I gave my drawing a little thought, and added rainbows to cheer Hero Hamster up.

Miss Kate marched into the room in a flourish and I got busy erasing my drawings off.

Language subjects drifted by. Then it was music time. Miss Kate got us all to stand up and push the chairs under the table. She then ordered someone near the door to switch off the lights so that the music video can be projected on the screen.

I did not like music time.

Hero Hamster wriggled out from underneath the table and between the chairs to accompany me. I turned and gave him a secret smile.

The first few notes pinged into the room from the speakers. Miss Kate started instructing us to sing along phrase by phrase. There were five phrases in total, and the song had originated from a poem. Soon everyone was singing merrily. Three boys were running across the front of the classroom in three different postures and some other boys were chasing them with hands outstretched and recoiling mimicking the firing of a rifle, and groups of girls were pointing and giggling at the screen.

I tagged along the girl who usually sits next to me and her gang of friends, I tagged on while the song played on repeat again and again and again.

Small drips of sadness dripped down from nowhere, impossible to ignore, and stuck on to me like super-glue. The dim lights from the projector threw a sickening shade on everything and everyone in the room. Only Hero Hamster was there beside me, and I started crying to Hero Hamster. The girl who sits next to me smiled awkwardly and tried to put a hand on my shoulder while her friends looked at each other with their arms tucked behind uneasily. And then Miss Kate took me off to a corner as usual and started talking to me, she talked and talked and I sobbed and nodded and sobbed.

 

After school, it was time to wait for my caretaker to come and get me. Some classmates were playing at the plastic slides and see-saws. I saw the girl sitting beside me and ran over to her. We talked a bit before her friends gathered around us and she smiled and waved at me and ran with her friends to the swings. I ran along with them. Half of them got on to a swing while the other half pushed them. They swung high, their pony tails flying with the wind. It was exciting to watch. I gathered my feet beneath me and kicked at the ground. I swung my legs like how my mother had taught me to. Soon I got higher, and higher, it was fun! But then the height got a little scary and I stopped swinging my legs.

When I turned to the girl sitting next to me, I realised they had all ran to the see saw. I jumped down from the swing and ran over. They were already on the see-saw, going up, and down, and up, and down, it was almost dizzying to watch. I tried to get on behind the girls on one side. They stared at me for a while and started whispering among themselves. Then one of them got down the see-saw and the rest followed. They started whispering among themselves again, their heads pressed really close to each other as they headed off towards the slides. I tucked at my ponytail, unsure if I should follow them. A group of boys jumped on the see-saw and started bouncing the see-saw up and down so violently I backed away.

Another group had occupied the swings so I just resided to the wooden benches. I tucked my bag close to my chest and started tracing my finger along the wood patterns and cracks. I started imagining myself playing the piano like how Hero Hamster did, calm and cool, with fingers fast and flowing across the black and white keys, and then all the kids in the playground would stop and stare at me in awe, and they would want to give it a try, they would crowd over to the piano curiously, I would…… as usual, I do not even know how to play the piano.

 

Someone called my name and I looked up to see the teacher on guard at the gate and my caretaker waving me over. I grabbed my bag and left the playground.

 

There was someone else with my caretaker. I clutched to the caretaker and looked at my feet.

“Say hi to auntie, come on, she lives across the street remember? She gave you that chocolate biscuit you said you liked.”

I smiled up at her and decided to look at my shadow after that.

“Kids these days, really, they need some manners,” I looked up to see my caretaker shaking her head at the neighbour across the street. The neighbour laughed and they talked and at a junction they said goodbyes.

“Isn’t she heading home with us?” I asked.

My caretaker stared at me for two seconds.

“Aren’t you listening? She just said she was going to the grocery store to get some salt and a new broom. “

“Oh,” I said.

We walked on down the street, and turned into a less busy residential area where trees loomed over the sidewalks throwing random and irregular shadows. The sun was warm and reflected beautiful tints off the windows of people’s houses along the street. I always loved memorising the houses. First, there would be a brick wall, and then a white fence where I bounce my umbrella along, and then a wall with hedges, and finally the corner house with a swing where a dog would always rush over and bark its lungs off while squeezing its head through the metal gates.

Its almost as if I had mastered the street.

“Today, Miss Kate gave me a star for Spelling,” I said.

“Great! That’s nice,” said the caretaker.

I beamed. “She said she would let me choose a sticker when I have five stars! I have just two more to go. There is this girl called Jenny. She sits next to me in class and she’s brilliant. She already got her first sticker last week.”

We reached home. “I wish I can be one of Jenny’s friends,” I said as my caretaker opened the front gate.

“Well, why don’t you? Is she your classmate?”

“Yes, she sits next to me, I said.”

“Then it should be easy, ask her about her favourite colour, ask her some questions about homework, you’ll be friends in no time.”

“But she has a lot of friends already, they never play with me.”

“Go join them, silly! You need to take some initiative and stop thinking the world will sit around and wait for you, you always need to do something to catch up with the world, kid.”

The caretaker unlocked the door and I stooped to take off my shoes.

“Kid, are you listening?”

I snatched up my bag and rushed into the house as the caretaker started to close the door.

“Yes,” I said.

“Do something and make some friends, ok?”

“Okay.”

 

***

And I still don’t have any friends.

 

THE END


Submitted: May 17, 2021

© Copyright 2021 YT. All rights reserved.

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