I stood next to my father. He was sitting in the armchair in the corner of his room. It was our house in England. We had moved there in the summer. Then I'd gone away to school and now I was home again because it was almost Christmas and it feels like we have always lived here.
It is morning. My father stopped me on the landing just outside the bathroom. He said, "Your rport card came yesterday. It was not too good. And it was not too bad. We will talk about it after breakfast."
So I am in his room and the door is closed and we are by ourselves as we often are. Sometimes it's like my mother and sisters live in one world and me and my father live in another.
He is holding my report card in his hands. It's my first one from this new school here in Engliand. It is a long white piece of paper. Each subject is in its own rectangel on the paper. The teachers have written comments in the different rectangels.
I didn't know they were going to do this.
My father starts at the top. It's Math. They call it "Maths" here. The teachers says that I am careless and that I don't try and she gives me a low mark. My father reads each word out loud, slowly. I want to cry but I make myself not cry. I had thought I was trying. I hadn't thought about it.
The piece of paper says I came #22 out of 24 girls. I didn't know they were counting like that.
School was easy before I came to this school.
In this school my classroom is in a set of three classrooms that are in their own building apart from the rest of the school. We are in a wooden building, long and low. Each classroom has its own door to the outside and a set of steps. Everyone calls this building -- this set of three classrooms -- "the huts." Inside you can walk from one end to the other, from one classroom to the next, opening and closing the doors that separate each of the three rooms.
In the beginning I was in the first classroom, the youngest class in the whole school. Everything there was easy and it felt like playtime, not school. After a few days they said I could go be part of the next class, so I went through the door and I was with a different group of girls. They were older than me and they wrote with pens that had ink in them, not pencils.
My father just keeps going, reading how badly I have done and I can't not cry. I have to cry. It gushes out. It feels very bad, all these people saying I am messy and careless and I don't try. "Trying." I never thought about trying. I thought I did everything they wanted. I didn't know they were going to do this. I thought everything was fine. Nobody told me.
I hate this. That I am crying and my father keeps reading and he won't stop.