Tuesday, 4 September 2012

When I Was 5 I Ran Away From School



When I was 5 I ran away from school. Mrs Roberts told the class to get their maths books out. I hate maths, I thought.
“Mrs Roberts is a poo!” I muttered to myself. The boy next to me looked shocked.
“I’m telling on you!” he exclaimed, and went to stand at the end of a long queue of children waiting to speak to Mrs Roberts. I surveyed the length of the line, and thought;
By the time he gets to the front of that line I could be out of here.
I ran to the classroom door and out to the cloakroom. No time to button it – I put the hood of my coat over my head and my coat flew out behind me like Batman’s cape. I was already clutching my school bag which smelt of Penguin chocolate biscuits. I ran out of the portacabin classroom, down the steps, across the playground and towards the school gates. I’m not sure at what point I realised the classroom assistant was chasing me. She was an older lady with permed hair, an A-line skirt and sensible shoes. I was headed for home. I raced out of the school gates and along the pavement towards where the corner of the road became a slight cul-de-sac. As the crow flies the quickest way home would be to cut straight across the road and the classroom assistant was hot on my heels. But I was not allowed to cross the road on my own without a grownup. I lived only 5 minutes from school and it was possible to get home without crossing any roads. So I opted to run around the long way, along to the end of the cul-de-sac, keeping to the pavements.
She caught me.
She put me over her shoulder and I kicked and screamed all the way back to class. I saw children in classrooms stare through windows at me. Back in the classroom Mrs Roberts gently asked me if I wanted to join the class doing maths, or go into the book corner and read books. I went into the book corner and read books and did colouring-in for the rest of the day. Result.
At the end of the day Mrs Roberts and my mum talked about me in hushed voices. I kept on colouring in.

Tomorrow my eldest daughter starts school for the very first time. I’m very proud and a little sad. She looks so smart in her uniform. Like all mothers I can’t believe how my baby has grown. She has seemed more excited than anxious. The other day I quietly asked her if there’s anything she wants to ask me about starting school.
“Yes,” she said solemnly. “My new water bottle that you bought me for school: I don’t think I can take the lid off by myself, to re-fill it.” I smiled and we went in to the kitchen to practice opening the water bottle together.

I’ve told her an abbreviated version of my running away from school story. She thinks it’s hilarious. I’ve made it clear that running away from school, without a grown-up is Extremely Dangerous and Very Naughty Indeed.
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