I munched on six stale goldfish crackers from my jacket pocket,
and then ran to the playground for a few minutes of free play.
“Gr-r-r-rowl,” roared my near empty stomach as I sat in class
fifteen minutes later. I rolled my eyes at Alex for squinching up
his face when he heard the starving sound. Then I stared at the
math paper lying in the center of my desk— the paper I was
supposed to complete during the first ten minutes of class.
Time was almost up and I’d finished only three of the twenty
Simple arithmetic. Add three rows of three numbers. The kind
of assignment I usually completed as easily as I wrote my name.
But right now, hunger wouldn’t let me stop thinking about the
hot oatmeal I left sitting on the kitchen table this morning.
“You’re too late to eat,” Dad had told me.
Mom said it would be all right for me to eat the porridge in the
vehicle on the way to school. But Dad said he didn’t want me
spilling all over the seat. That I should’ve been more punctual.
But, it wasn’t my fault sleepiness slowed down my teeth brushing
and face washing time. Or that my dumb allergy made me spend
extra time blowing my nose. And it wasn’t my fault I couldn’t find
the red shirt to match my pants, or that once I remembered
putting the shirt in the hamper a few days ago, I had to change
pants to match a different shirt.
Whatever… My get ready for school fiasco doesn’t matter any
more. Well, except for the fact that because I came to school
hungry, my grumbling stomach, that didn’t get to eat its oatmeal
has me thinking about food instead of arithmetic.
“Denise. Do you hear me?” asked Mrs. Washington.
“Y-y-e-s, Ma’am,” I stuttered gazing up from my incomplete math
“Please write problem sixteen on the board.”
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