It was a brisk winter morning, as I got out of my mom’s car and headed down what seems like an increasingly long path down the stairs and around the corner to where my friends meet before class. My mom always parks on the street behind the school so we can sneak in the back gate and not get a late slip. We are usually running a little late and get to school as the second bell rings. My sister tries to blame it on me, but I think that my mom loses track of time. I wonder if she knows that I notice this. She is good about not blaming me, even though sometimes our lateness is my fault. I always forget to feed the dog and sometimes I forget my flute. That kind of stuff.
Today is Pajama Day at school, day three of Spirit Week. I am in 5th grade and the President of our Student Council, so my parents told me I have to participate. I did not mind so much, though I did put on a pair of shorts under my pajamas, just in case. My sister, who is in 1st grade, has been excited about Pajama Day all week. She was telling me yesterday that her friends and her planned to have the “funnest” day possible yesterday, so that the day would seem to go by faster; so Pajama Day would get here faster. I do not get why she is so excited, exactly. But I will go with it. Whether I want to admit this or not, she is kind of cute when she gets excited about these things.
In my pajamas, the walk into school this morning felt like it took a week, with my feet feeling like they had lead weights strung from each ankle. From the sidewalk, I could see my friends on the school track below. As I watched them race each other and goof around, the hair stood up on my arms as I realized that no one was wearing anything that looked like pajamas. My mom tried to reassure me that I was “cool” for being in 5th grade and wearing my pajamas to school. She said that I was a leader. Her words did not help much. I know she tries, but really I am not sure that she understands.
My friends can be really mean. If I listen to my parents, that means that they are not really friends. All I know is how it feels when they make fun of me. To this day, I still hesitate to wear my Charger’s football jersey to school because I do not want to hear about how the Chargers “suck”. It is hard to be a Charger’s fan sometimes, but that is another story all together. Soccer jerseys are the same way. My parents would not let me buy the Mexico soccer jersey, because they said that wearing it was unpatriotic. I like the USA jersey, but will not wear it around my school friends because they will tease me.
For all these reasons, wearing pajamas to school was not my first choice. I know that being the President of our Student Council is a big deal and is supposed to mean that I am popular. However, when I am not in a cool t-shirt with my skinny jeans or cords, I feel like I am missing my armor.
As I walked down the stairs and thought about all these things, I felt butterflies in my stomach and the air felt even colder. What have I done? I looked back at my sister. Her ponytail was bouncing with enthusiasm. Her freckles were lit up by her smile and her brown eyes shone brightly as she also scanned the crowds below in search of her friends.
“Why is it so easy for girls?” I thought. Or maybe it was just 1st graders. Or maybe it was just my sister.
Now down the stairs, we rounded the corner and I let my eyes dart up swiftly to see who may have noticed my entrance to school. I saw a couple of girls from my class. They were in pajamas. Good sign, but these are still only the girls.
A few more steps and I drew in a long, deep breath. Here we go, I thought. As I raised my eyes to gaze upon our the chaotic and busy school courtyard, the bell rang. Turning slightly to the right, I am hearing my name being called by another group of my friends.....all in their pajamas.
Marsi lives in San Diego, CA with her husband, two children, and dog. A private foundation grants writer by trade, Marsi explores her creative side by contributing to Writing, Writer, Writest. She is a breast cancer survivor and keeps a blog of her journey, entitled Nip-It.