I have a confession to make. Something that happened a very long time ago. Something that I feel terrible about and think about often, even to this day (more that 20 years later!)
So naturally, I feel that there’s probably no better way to get this sort of thing off my chest than to blog about it!
Here it goes:
When I was between the ages of 5 and 6 in elementary school, once a week my fellow students and I were sent off to music class with Mrs. Alexandria. She was a bigger lady with a lot of sass, and as such she frightened us all. No one dared to act up or step out of line in Mrs. Alexandria’s class. Not even the worst of us.
During class we had a regular routine of learning perhaps a song or two, and then standing up to perform what we’d learned. Our chairs were arranged in rows on either side of our maestro, and on one particular day, I happened to be in the second row to Mrs. Alexandria’s left. We were standing, and we were all singing a song we had learned about the importance of education. Except for me. I wasn’t singing.
My mind was preoccupied with something I had seen on TV the day before. It was a bit about two people, and I was feeling very curious about what had happened on the show. Person A had pulled person B’s chair back while person B was standing. The resulting effect was that when person B went to sit down, he ended up falling on his ass instead. It had been a funny thing to see, and I wondered, was this something that would actually work in real life?
Being the little scientist that I was, I decided that an experiment was in order. Very carefully, I inched back the chair in front of me. I did it slowly, bit by bit so that no one would notice. I worked the chair back as much as I could while the rest of my classmates continued singing their little hearts out. Then, I waited.
Finally, the song ended. It was time to sit down, and we all did so in unison, resting into our chairs. All of us except for one. As was expected, the little blonde boy in front of me did not make it into his chair. Instead he came crashing down onto the floor in front of me.
I couldn’t believe it. The experiment had worked!
I was shocked. I don’t know what exactly I was expecting. I suppose my little mind hadn’t worked things out quite that far.
But, as it turned out, this sort of thing was not funny in real life, And it was clear immediately that someone would need to be punished for this offense.
I’d had experience with being in trouble at school once before, when I was much younger, perhaps 3. But I remembered what it was like, and it was not something I ever wanted to experience again. So I did the unthinkable. I immediately raised my finger and pointed it at the boy sitting next to me. The chair was slightly between us and it could have just as easily been him.
The boy, also afraid of getting in trouble, was more accurately pointing his finger at me. After all, I was the one who had done it. My intentions weren’t malicious, but I knew Mrs. Alexandria wouldn’t understand, and neither would she show mercy.
Luck, as it turned out was on my side that day. The little boy in front of me and the boy sitting next to me were friends, so blondie, who was still sitting on the floor, inaccurately accused his friend, who of course still insisted that it wasn’t him. I kept my mouth shut, though. I didn’t want to interfere with the natural turn of events. Plus, by that point I was too frozen with fear to really react anyway.
The next thing I knew, the poor innocent boy next to me, who had been so unfortunate in his seating choice that day, was being carted off to the principal’s office, while I remained where I was, still a little shaken up.
I was relieved that my little stunt didn’t get me in trouble that day. I really don’t think I knew any better about pulling the boys chair. I don’t think I truly believed it would work and even if I did, I wasn’t expecting the boy to get hurt. But I did know better about lying, and I’ll tell you what… the guilt I feel over that boy being wrongly accused and punished still haunts me to this day.
Dear brown haired boy who I got in trouble that day… you know who you are. I hope you can accept my sincerest apology for the events of that day back in 1994 or 5. I should have owned up to what I had done, but I didn’t. And you paid the price. For that I am deeply sorry.