I was a small child. A little scrawny kid who wanted nothing else but to please people. Making people laugh and feel better about themselves was my top goal in my young life.
I lived in a suburb. A suburb is a wonderful place for a child who loves to play soccer, baseball, football or in my case (this was after all Canada) hockey. This was Montreal’s West Island. A wonderful place for a sporty kid. Which I wasn’t. I didn’t fit in.
As soon as my local library offered after school art programs I immediately rushed in to join. Finally something I could excel in? It was March 26 197-something. Not sure about the year, but I was in grade 4, aren’t we about 8 in grade 4? So. March 26. The day before my birthday. The day before a planned school outing to the cabane à sucre. Also known as a sugar shack. The cabane is the place where maple syrup is made. A visit to the cabane à sucre was by far my most favorite outing ever!
It was also a week before Easter. We decorated Easter eggs at the library. I made 4 of them. I was so proud of my eggs! Once the class was over, I stayed to help clean up. There were baby food jars full of paint left behind on every table. I put the lids back on. Put the brushes in the sink to be rinsed off and asked where she (helper) wanted me to put all the little jars of paint. Some jars had already been covered up by other children where most were closed by myself. I was qualified in closing jars. Most children weren’t.
Obviously. My jars, the tightly closed ones were safely placed on the table she pointed out to me. Whereas one of the jars carelessly closed off by an incompetent child was not tight. As I picked it up by the lid, two steps into moving towards the designated table, the bottom fell on the floor. Splat! Blue gouache everywhere! I mean everywhere! I looked at the helper with a look of surprise and shock.
“Oh no! If Mrs Soandso sees this, her brand new painted walls, she’ll be SO MAD at you! You better leave before she comes back! Go!” I wanted to stay and help clean up the mess I’d made. But she refused. I ran out of the room crying. Of course. I was such a cry-baby.
Outside I stood at the light since it just turned yellow. I knew I wouldn’t have time to run across the 6 lanes of traffic. Three on both sides. It was rush hour traffic at its finest and people couldn’t wait to get home where their cocktail was waiting… I turned and looked behind me and Mrs Soandso was coming out of the library.
I thought surely she was coming to yell at me for ruining her brand spanking new and freshly painted wall. So I took my chances and ran across the boulevard. I almost made it. I ran across 5 lanes and finally, on the 6th and final lane I turned and saw him – the moving car speeding its way to break my eggs.
I was hit on my right side. I went flying in the thankfully big snow bank on the side of the street. I had my 4 eggs in my coat pockets. Two on each side. As I lay in the snow, shivering, I worried about my eggs.
Most kids want to miss school. But the next day was a double dutch delight of being both, as I mentioned, my birthday and an outing to la cabane. Have I mentioned how much fun a day at la cabane is? Well. It ends up that I was only bruised. No broken bones. And 3 eggs survived the crash. Imagine that… Still, I had to stay home from school all alone the next day. I think I’m still deeply traumatized by that fact.
But I shit you not… I know I had an out of body experience and could see myself laying in that snow bank. And I also know for a fact that Mrs Soandso never came to see if I was ok or not. I don’t think I ever went back to her after school art classes.