The first week of school
Mr. MacComber made us write our autobiography
even though most of us  hadn’t done anything more exciting
than go to the state fair over summer vacation.

We went through each year of our life
trying to remember something significant enough
to be recorded for all time.

I wrote about my father not being there
and how his not being there
left a giant hole in who I thought I was
and who I thought was supposed to be.
I wrote about how I felt like a freak,
different from everyone else,
because I was the only person I knew
who had never met their dad.
And I wrote about how sometimes
thinking about him made me want to scream
and sometimes it made me want to run away
and try to find him.

Mr. MacComber gave me an A
because I was good at writing
but then he wrote a long note
telling me I might need to go see a shrink
because it sounded like I needed some help.

But he didn’t say it like that.

He said I was mentally unbalanced
and he recommended psychiatric help.

The rest of the school year
Mr. MacComber kept watching me
like he expected me to fall apart
in front of him and the entire class.

I fell apart a little bit every day
but it was on the inside
where no one could see.

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2010
All Rights Reserved