It is 1965.
We line up. We walk single file to recess. We line up to slide on the slide. We line up to swing on the swings. We line up to go back inside.
It is nap time. We line up to get our mats from the stack. The mats smell. It’s a combination of the material the covers are made from and all the bodies sweaty from the playground that have been using these mats since – maybe since the school was built.
The boys go to one side of the room. The girls go to the other side. They unfold their mats and lay them on the linoleum shiny with wax.
Celeste Trevera unfolds her mat on the girl’s side. I like Celeste. She wears her dark brown hair in bangs, with the rest to her shoulders. She has brown eyes. I don’t know why I like her but I do.
I make a decision. I take my mat and go to the girl’s side of the room. I unfold it and lay it down next to Celeste. I lay down next to her.
It takes Miss Long a minute to realize what I have done. She comes over after giving out the last mat and tells me to move to the boy’s side of the room.
Poor Miss Long. This is not the first time I have crossed this kind of line with her. We had an assignment to label and color figures of a man and of a woman – clothing and body parts – in Spanish. They were cartoonish diagrams, a couple of steps removed from stick figures. They were reproduced on Dittos in that purple color.
I finished and took my sheets up to Miss Long. She looked at the one of the mujer, made a couple of corrections and handed it back to me. Then she reviewed my hombre. She didn’t have a problem with the labels. But I was unsatisfied with the accuracy of the primitive drawing and had augmented it, extending the groin area slightly with my blue crayon.
Miss Long looked up from my paper. She held it out and pointed to the blue pantalones I had drawn.
“Oh,” I replied. “That’s the part that hangs down.
Talk about drawing outside the lines.