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That Fleeting Icky Feeling

Papa is off settling Cory into her classroom.

D (circling Fisher’s): Well, let’s find it, Fisher.
F (holding Daddy’s hand): Okay.

The other parents are smiling over kids rummaging around their new desks. A boy Daddy has never seen before looks up from his. His name is long and precarious. It starts with an “m.”

M: Hello.
D: Well, good morning. Are you excited for your first day of first grade?

The boy shakes his head “yes.” Daddy is too distracted to ask him how to pronounce his name or introduce Fisher.

F: Daddy, where’s my desk?
D: I don’t know, Fisher. I don’t see it. It must be here.

The circling continues. A parent or two starts to watch a little bit. Daddy gets the first signs of that icky feeling in the pit of the stomach, flashing back to being a little kid: “they forgot me,” “maybe I’m not supposed to be here,” everyone’s watching. A definite bout of introversion.

F: Maybe I don’t have a desk, Daddy.
D: Noooo. Fisher, we must have missed it. Where could it be? (Circling a bit awkwardly.) Oh! Here, it is!

There is Fisher’s desk, directly across from the new boy, who sits smiling shyly. Relief floods Daddy. Daddy’s a bit embarrassed that relief is flooding him. Fisher plops down.

D: Fisher, can you say hi to your new classmate?
F (waving across the two desks): Hi.
M: Hi.
F: My name is Fisher.
M: My name is [something long and precarious that starts with “m”].

Daddy doesn’t really hear the boy’s name, still a bit distracted. Later, Fisher confesses that he saw his name tag on the desk the whole time but didn’t want to point it out because, he claims, he was hoping to have to go talk to Mrs. Benadom, the school principal and a rock star in all the kids’ eyes, about the situation. Daddy knows it isn’t true, based on his earlier, worried face, but doesn’t call him out.

Better to play along.

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