I always knew I wasn’t quite like the other children. My parents would say, “Of course, you are! There are always little differences between children. Here have a cookie. Your favourite, monster dark chocolate chunk oatmeal.” But then they would say that; they’re parents.
It was more than the little things: I had autumn red hair; the others cornfield blond. I had green eyes; the others blue.
I seemed to be all arms and legs. The others more aware of their limbs and their uses. I was hopeless at sports, worse at dancing. Some days, could barely walk without tripping over my shoelaces or my feet.
I was alright in reading and writing. But math was way over my head. The others, bet you can guess by now – aced the arts and the sciences! I could draw, which was something, but seemed but a small talent compared to my school companions.
They were kind enough. They could have mocked me, belittled me, or pretended I was too small of skill and intellect to be bothered with. Not so much that they accepted me, as they didn’t unaccept me.
As summer break drew closer, I kept begging my parents to let me go on my own vacation that year. I had big plans. To away camp. To visit relatives. To be an exchange student. Anything!
My parents weren’t sure. I had never been away from home before; we always took a family vacation in the summer. But I kept at it, largely hoping they would relent just to shut me up. Finally . . .
“What do you want to do?” they asked.
“Visit relatives, I guess,” thinking that might be the most adventurous; a bigger slice of life.
So, on the first day of summer break, with my knapsack packed, teary-eyed farewells from my parents, and promises to stay in touch, I started to climb up the beanstalk.
*title of a 1971 movie