The image of Joshua S. running around the room, chasing the girls with scissors.

So maybe I was a little naive. I was five.

I was also terrified.

I told. I told for what I believed was the good of the people and for the safety of all. Safety for me, too.

Why would you have rules about this kind of stuff it they weren’t to protect us?

‘Ms. Cap! Ms. Cap!!! Josh is running with scissors!”

A long, annoyed adult face whipped around with the jazziest one-liner I remember from this era: ‘Nobody likes a tattletale.’ And with that she was gone and back to her business.

And my terror turned to a very, very different kind of horror.

I dreamt that night (or imagined ... sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference with memories this old) that Joshua S. had been lighting matches in the classroom and that my warnings still went unheeded, and that I still got in trouble for tattling. But in this dream I got to rescue all the people who had called me a tattle-tale from a burning building, and that felt really, really good.

Ah my self-righteousness, and how early it began to blossom. All my visions in these tormented days of youth, a geek among children too early, I was the wronged and much-abused victim who later came back to show them how right she was. How perfectly, completely right. And weren’t they sorry? Weren’t they always so sorry, so completely and totally sorry for their mistake? Later, when they realized. In the end. Later, when they were reflecting back on how lucky they were that I was such a forgiving soul.

Except that I’m twenty, and still I haven’t forgiven them yet.

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