Here is a little flash fiction, short story, I wrote from the eyes of a third grader about a school performance. Hope you enjoy.
Today is the fifth of May, also known as Cinco de Mayo. If it doesn’t rain, we will have an assembly to celebrate. Our class has been practicing a song all month, and I can hardly contain my excitement about performing it in front of everyone at our school.
As I sit at the long table closest to the door, I fidget with anticipation. Julie, my best friend, sits next to me, while Mohammad, Shehab, and Damon sit across from us. We’ve known each other since the first grade when we started elementary school with twenty other kids. Only the five smartest students in our class, including us, were selected to advance to the second-grade classroom. The following year, we were promoted to share a room with the third-graders.
Now, a year older, we find ourselves in the fourth-grade classroom with a group of older students who don’t seem to share our enthusiasm for today’s celebration. Despite the teacher’s repeated instructions to sit still and pay attention, I find it difficult to focus on unimportant tasks like spelling words when my mind is buzzing with the lyrics to our fun song.
Cinco De Mayo is holiday time. Holiday time in Mexico.
Glancing at the clock, I see that it’s only nine o’clock. I can’t help but watch the minute hand inch its way closer to the number twelve. That’s when we’ll finally be allowed to leave the classroom and line up for our big performance. I can’t wait to put on our outfits and get into character. Skipping an entire hour of class just for this feels like a reward, especially since we won’t get in trouble for it.
Meanwhile, Ms. Hicks writes today’s vocabulary words on the board, and we copy them onto our paper. She insists that we write them in cursive on the lined paper she’s provided, which I dread. Unlike Julie, my cursive loops are far from pretty. Ms. Hicks always gives me poor marks for my penmanship, but I can’t seem to make my loops any better. Instead, I focus on the lyrics of our song, not wanting to miss a beat during our performance.
Cinco De Mayo is holiday time. To the fiesta we go-go-go.
I turn my head towards the door, drawn to the sound of thunder rumbling outside. Normally, the noise would frighten me, but today it just makes me feel a little melancholy. Thunder is often accompanied by rain, and I worry that if it pours, we might not be able to perform our song or wear our festive sombreros. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned about Mexican culture in just a week. I’m eager to showcase my newfound knowledge and celebrate with my classmates.
Ms. Hicks interrupts my thoughts with a stern reminder. “Kids, eyes up front,” she says, reprimanding our table for getting distracted by the noise. Everyone except for me turns their attention back to the chalkboard and the cursive writing exercise. But I can’t help but continue staring at the door, wondering if my mother will be disappointed if she misses work to attend the program, only for it to be canceled due to rain.
Sha-la-la-la-la. Go Go Go!
As the bell rings, signaling our break time, we rush out to the playground. The break is brief, just enough to refresh ourselves before lunch and before the hot sun beats down on us in the afternoon. I can already feel the heat building up, making me sweat.
Stepping outside, my heart lifts as I see that the ground is still dry. No rain yet. There’s still hope for our assembly! Julie dashes ahead of me, but I quickly catch up to her. We make a beeline for the swings, hoping to snag them before anyone else does. It’s a race every time, and I always wish that the school would buy enough swings for everyone. If they did, I wouldn’t have to sprint to get one of the empty seats. But my teacher always says that running is good for me.
Julie and I swing side by side, trying to see who can go higher. She seems content to swing, while I want to jump off like Damon. He always goes so high that one day, I’m convinced he’ll fly upside down. It would be the coolest thing ever!
The bell rings and I jump off the swing, landing on my knees. I grit my teeth, refusing to cry despite the pain. The others rush past me, but I remain frozen in place as the rain starts pouring down. This can’t be happening. Not today, not now. I stand in the middle of the blacktop, arms crossed, bottom lip puffed out in frustration. A sharp voice snaps me out of my thoughts.
“Get inside now!” Ms. Hicks yells at me. When I don’t move, she storms out in the rain, grabs my arm, and drags me back to the classroom. “Stop this little attitude of yours,” she scolds me, her voice dripping with irritation.
My anger builds as I’m placed in the corner of the room, tears streaming down my face. The other fourth-graders snicker, enjoying my misery. But they don’t understand. My mom had to take time off work to come see me perform, and now the program will be canceled because of the rain. We can’t afford to lose that money, and Ms. Hicks doesn’t seem to care.
I can feel the tears running down my face and my nose getting all stuffy. I try to wipe my tears away with my sleeve, but it only makes my arm wet. I hate crying in front of people, especially in front of the fourth graders. They always think they are better than us, third graders. The teacher looks at me from time to time as if she is mad but then turns away quickly. I wish she would just let me go home and see my mom. I bet she is just as upset as I am right now.
Cinco De Mayo is holiday time. Holiday time in Mexico.
As the rain continued to pour down, I felt my heart drop. I was so sure that the program was going to be canceled, but now we were just going to a different room. I felt a little disappointed that we wouldn’t be performing in the same place, but at least we were still having the program. My excitement turned into nervousness as we ran to the other room with Mr. Golden. The rain was so heavy that we were soaked through by the time we got there. The other third-graders were already dressed in their colorful Mexican sombreros and panchos, looking like they were ready to party. Mr. Golden handed us our costumes and we quickly changed into them, trying to dry off as much as we could.
After getting dressed, I approach Mr. Golden and inquire, “Will we still have the program even if it’s raining?”
He replies, “We moved the show to the cafeteria. We will perform while everyone eats.”
“What about our parents?” I follow up.
“They will be in the cafeteria with us,” he responds.
Julie and I bounce up and down excitedly, knowing that our moms will sit together. As the hour approaches, the butterflies in my stomach intensify. When both clock hands align, we form a single-file line and proceed slowly to the cafeteria. The moment we enter, the music starts playing. Dressed in our classic Mexican hats and jackets, we sing our song and perform our dance routine. While trying not to mess up the steps, I scan the audience for my mom, who’s standing at the back of the room next to Julie’s mom. Upon seeing her, I grin from ear to ear and belt out the lyrics as loud as I can.
Cinco De Mayo is holiday time. Holiday in Mexico. Cinco De Mayo is holiday time. To the fiesta we go-go-go. Sha-la-la-la-la. Go Go Go.