Six weeks. That's all. She quit after 6 weeks. She had taken some classes at the community college and had been a babysitter for years. She was sure she would love a job at the day care center but it was the worst thing she had ever done. EVER.

She thought at first that the kids were teasing her. She knew how small kids liked to tell stories and get extra attention. They would draw pictures of kids locked in closets till mom comes back from store-thats all or fights between parents- thats a chair, cause he hits her with that when he's really mad . She dismissed it for a while but it became harder to listen to when she heard her co-workers describe the things they had overheard.

Parents arrested for drug sales while watching four neighbor kids, kids left at grocery stores so Mom could go next door to have her nails done and the ever popular "Man who stayed the night." It scared her and saddened her but mostly it sickened her. She started getting headaches and nausea on the way to work. She lost sleep and when she did sleep, it was mostly bad dreams. Dreams of sad faces looking out car windows. All alone.

The last straw was a Thursday afternoon. A boy she had in her room for three weeks was watching a cartoon about dragons. The dragon was trying to tell a story about sharing. The boy, blond hair with a cowlick that could not be managed, sat on her lap. When it was over he turned around to look at her and asked only one question, one last question. She left the next day.

Why does my Dad want to share my sister?

  1. Growing up art was my least favorite class
  2. I could never make the materials cooperate 
  3. Paint water was dirty. I organized crayons
  4. Instead of coloring with them.
  5. Looking back I probably didn't feel 
  6. As if I was worthy enough to dull those
  7. Clean crisp fresh points
  8. There was one teacher, she had curly orange hair
  9. Who praised the brackish wave I had created in class
  10. After I told her the story of the purple surf board I had placed near the top

 

  1. My father exposed us (to art)
  2. By purchasing pieces we could ill afford
  3. Leaving parallel stripes of seething crimson on each of his five children
  4. When we cracked a piece of cheap Oriental pottery
  5. A ginger jar that he used to store his pennies
  6. It was cobalt blue
  7. With a coppery floral motif
  8. My mother hung black wallpaper in our dining room
  9. Sewed matching maroon draperies, needling me, ranting, raving,
  10. While decorating her skinny kid's back with a rainbow of bruises

 

  1. My first husband 
  2. Was also fascinated by Japan
  3. Musashi was his hero
  4. I read the book
  5. But it left me colder on the inside
  6. Interestingly enough he wanted to donate it
  7. To Goodwill after we got divorced
  8. By then he had seen
  9. How a dangerous personal philosophy
  10. Could ruin a relationship

 

  1. When I was in the psych ward
  2. I wondered about the connection between art 
  3. And sanity
  4. People colored, but I couldn't get into it.
  5. After all, you can be mentally ill
  6. Without the capacity to produce meaningful art
  7. Then one day we were assigned a collage
  8. No scissors of course
  9. I was given a book by the instructor
  10. I wish I still had it today

 

  1. Patterns are important to me
  2. Perfection kills, don't let anyone tell you otherwise
  3. There was a dark haired kid
  4. Who turned 18 during December, the third I think
  5. I saw him outside
  6. During a breakout session he sat next to me
  7. Coincidence I thought at the time
  8. Until he shoved a tiny scrap of paper my way
  9. I took it home and
  10. Glued it onto the collage I had made while inside

 

  1. Today my boss called
  2. While I was laying on my bed sobbing
  3. About the works of art I threw away
  4. Abandoned, neglected, couldn't stand
  5. Because they reminded me of where I had been
  6. And how I broke down when I was asked
  7. To share the story behind my collage
  8. Maybe someday I'll learn 
  9. I can still embrace the artist within
  10. Before this lifeless ink runs dry

 

  1. P.S. Ironically I did very well
  2. When we made posterior crowns in class
  3. I polished my tooth colored surfaces lovingly
  4. Picturing it being placed in the mouth 
  5. Of an imaginary patient
  6. Whose discomfort was alleviated
  7. By the artificial structure
  8. I don't know what kind of a person
  9. Fails collegiate ceramics, but receives praise
  10. From people who have been working in dentistry for decades.

 

  1. Many thanks to etouffee for the pointer.

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