She was jealous of the Ambers.
There were four of them in her kindergarten class and Miss Jones had to give them a last name letter to keep them straight. Amber J., Amber B., Amber R., and Amber A. Two of the Ambers (J and A,) were best friends and always sat on top of the monkey bars together at recess. The other two weren’t best friends, but they were rich, and their moms packed Motts apple juices every day for snack time.
At nap-time the Ambers all had those amazingly plush yoga mats to sleep on, and they would all cuddle in a ball and fall fast asleep. Not Rajya. She’d sleep in the corner with her baby blanket on the hard floor and name the dust bunnies. Rajya J., Rajya B., Rayja R., and Rayja A. She’d never fall asleep until nap-time was almost over, and she’d always sleep on her bangs funny and they’d stick up for the rest of the afternoon.
Recess would come and Mikey tried to get Rajya to play Chase with him but she knew better. She scuffed up her chin trying to catch Alex Schmidt the last time she played Chase and had definitely learned her lesson. Instead she’d sit underneath the bridge on the playground and play fort with her imaginary friend, Bill Obviously. “Who are you talking to, Rajya?” “Bill, Obviously.” She’d do her best to keep one eye on the Ambers at all times, just in case they did anything she should know about.
It was Creative Wednesday and the class was finger painting hearts on cards to give to their mothers for Mother’s Day. The Ambers all sat at the Square table and took all the pink and red paint. Rajya was sitting at the Circle table and got stuck with green. She made her hearts anyway. Green hearts are unorthodox, certainly, but when Rajya took her card to the drying rack, she was sure that her hands were steadier than the Ambers. “Their hearts may be the right color, but they look more like blobs,” she thought.
Once, during lunch, Amber B. asked Rajya to come sit with her. “Hey Rajya, why don’t you eat with me and then we’ll go sit on the tire swing at recess.” Rajya did it and it was fun she guessed, but the next day she went back underneath the bridge because “Bill can’t hold the fort by himself.”
On Mother’s Day, Maaria was thrilled to receive a card from her daughter, even though she knew it was something all the children had to do during creative time. “Rajya, you did a fantastic job of painting these hearts!” she said to the daughter sitting on her lap.
“I love you Mommy,” the inside said. “Love, Rajya L.”