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(A scene from my life in 1949)
The clock on the classroom wall ticks slower and slower. Tick. . . tick. . . . . . tick. . . . .
"Please hurry! Please hurry! Please... please... please hurry!" The words are whispered barely aloud by the young boy. Every muscle in his body is tense. His fingers twitch and tremble. His knees, pressed tightly together, quiver and touch the walls of the corner. He rocks slowly back and forth, but is careful not to dislodge the folded white handkerchief, his label of unworthiness, draped like a flag across the top of his head.
"Please... please!" he whispers again. Then he sucks in his breath and winces. But it doesn't help, nothing can. Within minutes it starts, a trickle at first, then all of it. He silently hopes there isn't so much that it makes a puddle on the floor.
He hunches over, pressing his face tight into the corner. His wrists cross into an X in his lap, hoping to hide the wet spot. Now he is glad he won't be leaving the school when the other kids do. Maybe they'll all be gone when he leaves and nobody will see; nobody will tease him. He has hoped this hope at least a hundred times before, but maybe this time he won't hear those awful words:
"Look at the retard."
"Retard pissed his pants again."
He is startled by the bell that signals school is out for the day. In the corner, amidst the clatter and clamor of the kids leaving, the boy sits motionless, hoping nobody looks in his direction. If he could be invisible he would be. Not until the room is quiet does he dare move, does he dare make a sound.
As the noise fades, the ticking of the clock accelerates. Tick. . . tick, tick!
Barely aloud, the boy whispers something that only he should hear.
"What did you say?" The loud voice booms right behind him.
If he hadn't already done it, he would be wetting his pants now. He presses into the corner as tightly as he can and tries to be as small as he can be.
One of the hands that put him in the corner grabs his shoulder and pulls him around. "What did you say?" the voice demands.
"I asked God not to make me sit in the corner any more."
That child's prayer is the sole reason for this book.