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Exclusion
by Carol H. Jewell

When I was six years old, my family moved from the only home I’d ever known. My mother kept some of my Matchbox™ cars out of the moving van, so that I would have something to play with once we got to the new place. I don’t remember what my siblings or parents did that day, but I do remember playing with my cars in my new bedroom. It was a very long day for me. I was exhausted, too tired to eat, even, and I was put to bed on the higher mattress of the trundle-like bed I shared with my sister. Usually, I slept on the “inner” mattress, one that was tangential to the wall, when the bed was opened, with my older sister occupying the “outer” mattress, so that I wouldn’t fall out of bed. But for reasons I will never know, my mother didn’t bother to open the bed.

I fell asleep around 6:30. About two hours later, I fell off the bed. I heard animated conversation coming from our new dining room. Rubbing my sleepy eyes I walked there to find my family having a great time, eating Chinese food, reading their fortunes, and laughing, while I stood there, shocked and saddened, to see that they were eating Chinese food without me. Had they forgotten about me, my six year old mind asked itself? Now I know they meant no harm to me, but it was just one of many times I felt excluded by them. That I remember the incident so clearly fifty years later also saddens me.

Nowadays, I can eat Chinese food whenever I want. But it always brings me right back to that time I fell out of bed.

No one even apologized.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I write creative nonfiction, I often turn to my own experience. I think about the experience for a while, and then I begin writing. I try to connect with my reader, but sometimes that means reconnecting with myself.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol H. Jewell is a mother, grandmother, wife, teacher/librarian/poet living in Upstate New York, with her spouse and nine cats. She will complete her MFA at The College of Saint Rose in December 2016. She is insatiably curious.