From before my birth, my mother ran a daycare. My early memories are laced with the faded faces of children I barely remember or speak to anymore. Daycare was conducted in the garage-turned playroom of the single story home of my early childhood and planted on the corner of Second and Vicky.
It seemed so large to me, like walls running on for miles. I felt like a gold fish swimming in a backyard pool. The air was stale and flat, smelling of cement and car oil. Swamp coolers were the only relief from dead, garage air. The walls were the color of sea shells, with just as many imperfections. To the far back and on the right side, a white door let out to the grass land beside the small house.
Inside the room, I sit on a small translucent chair, a color a bright as snow white’s lips. There are cartoon faces on the seats, faded and scratched from jean pockets and constant stacking and unstacking.
A dirty-blonde haired girl I don’t like stalks toward me. Her curly hair nearly covers half of her round, chubby face. She starts to squat onto the chair next to me.
“You can’t seet here. It’s for summun else,” I stutter out. A feeling I don’t recognize pangs in my stomach. It feels like I could throw up, but not quite. I furrow my eyebrows at her. I’d do anything to not have her sit by me.
“Oh,” she says. She walks away. A mix of pride and shame stir in my chest.
I am not quite four, and I have just told my very first lie.