When I was little, I wanted to visit the moon.
My mother laughed. Not in that way the other mothers laughed at their kids. Their laughter sounded like chickadees or Christmas bells. And they looked at their sons and daughters, ruffling hair or kissing cheeks, as if to say, “Aren’t they cute?” My mother’s chuckling didn’t say, “Isn’t she cute?” It was a combination of dismissal and disappointment. I never knew how someone could make laughter sound so unpleasant.
My father explained the distance between the earth and the moon. He was “practical” and had no patience for dreamers. That is to say, he had no patience for me.
My grandparents said I was spoiled. Which had nothing to do with the moon, really, but they never missed a chance to say it.
My teacher smiled and told me about astronauts. Which is exactly the sort of person she was. I should have expected her to do something like that. Instead of asking more about traveling to the moon, I demanded to know why she was telling me this. Then I cried and asked if I could live with her and she got that look on her face like when she had to send someone to the principal’s office. She didn’t call on me for the rest of the year. I remember being young, wanting things I couldn’t have. I remember Ms. Haley. And I know she remembers me.
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