Lost Mule Lodge
… a journey that began with a cabin in the woods
I learned about injustice in elementary school. Jumping out of my swing – I left the playground in the middle of recess to use the restroom. A girl from my class was already in there – she was skipping recess. Who skips RECESS? I was stunned when she offered me the cigarette she was smoking. I casually declined – trying to be cool, I said something like, “no thanks, I just smoked a full pack this morning.”
Racing back to the playground, I found my best friend still on the swings. Her face lit up in disbelief as I told her the news. My friend and I spent the remainder of our recess running to each classmate telling them about the smoker in the restroom. Everyone was shocked at the news, which made telling it more fun… When we all came back into the classroom our teacher had heard the story.
My friend and I were both told to wait out in the hall. We were thinking he wanted to find out who was smoking in the restroom during recess so he could confront her.
But we’d be wrong.
To our horror, we were both told to bend over and grab our ankles. I was begging him – “look in her desk, ask her – you will find cigarettes – I swear it!” While I pleaded, he was slapping the board with the strange letters against the side of his thigh. My brain was spinning, how can this be happening? Why are WE the ones getting spanked?
He first spanked me – I kept repeating to myself, “Don’t cry, don’t you dare cry.” I tried to focus on the gold specks that bedazzled the asbestos filled floor tiles under my feet. The spanking stopped and he told me to stay in that position. He left me to start on my friend, who had nothing to do with any of this.
As I was bent over with ankles still in my hands I turned to my friend. Her frilly bright green dress was billowing over her back with each strike of the board. I was glad my skirt had stayed over my thighs to help cushion the blows.
Her white ankle socks were in her palms as we made eye contact, at that moment we both got a serious case of the giggles. This was our relationship and why I loved being with her, we laughed at EVERYTHING. The more we tried to control it the more we laughed. He finished spanking her and told her to go back to class. She gave me an ornery grin as she walked past. Then he came back to me, my hands still grasping bare ankles, only tighter this time. My laughter came to a screeching halt.
I was sure the entire class had heard everything that had just happened as we were just a few feet from the open classroom door. As I returned to the silent classroom every eye was on me and my tear stained chubby cheeks. The first face I saw was that of my best friend. We exchanged grins through teary eyes.
A few days later – as my ego was still healing – I asked the smoker if she was ever questioned about the cigarettes.
She was not.
We are all a culmination of our own life experiences. It was this day that I learned about injustice.
One of the good things about this experience was that it was shared by my friend. The nature of our relationship was that we found humor in everything. So instead of being bitter about this injustice we had experienced together, we would both laugh with years of re-telling. It became one of our favorite stories!
Our teacher kept this board hanging in our classroom, but I never knew him to use it for anything other than that day. (I realize now those were Greek letters – it must have been his fraternity board). For the rest of that year it was a reminder that the world is not always fair.
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