How School Is
Frances OíCherony Archer

Kindergarten no so good for Ana Maria. She is my smart one. She speak very good English. But she no have best friend. Every day she cry: †mami, I donít know what to do in recess. No one talk to her. She stay by herself like a little chicken scratching in the yard. One day terrible thing happen. Teacheróay, forgive me, I donít remember name, I have terrible memoryóteacher, she call me at night. Mrs. Ramirez, she say, your daughter Ana Maria is quiet girl but she have serious problem in school. She take locket. Lock, what kind of lock she take?† No, no, teacher say. †Ana Maria take girlís necklace with gold heart. I find Ana Maria outside playing with her sisters and I say, what is this about† locket? Ana Maria say, I didnít take it, mami, I didnít take it. She begin to cry like someone hit her and she hides herself in the house. I look in her backpack, in her clothes, in her bureau.

The next day, again rings the phone. Teacher say, Ana Maria must give back Carolineís locket. The mother is very angry. Locket is important to family. I donít know. I look everywhere, no locket.

After school Ana Maria goes to the bed. Again she cries. I rub her back like when she have difficulty sleeping and she say, Are you going to tell papi? No, my daughter, donít worry, I say. Ana Maria stop crying and she say, Caroline show me the locket at recess. A little heart that opens. Inside pictures of the grandparents of Caroline. Ana Maria touch the heart but the whole time Caroline has it on her neck. Then Caroline run away to another girl and Ana Maria stays by herself, like always.

In that moment, the damned phone starts ringing. Can you believe it? Again the half-stupid teacher. Mrs. Ramirez, she says, but before she say one thing more I say look, Miss, with all respect, I believe my daughter. I look in backpack, in clothes, everywhere. She no haveó. Yes, I know, teacher says. Very sorry. Caroline afraid to tell her mother so she say Ana Maria steal locket. Buenas noches, she say, and I am saying, Miss, I donít understand but she hang up, like that, very fast. †Well, we see. I think first grade can be better. † †

First published: May, 2008
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